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Woman Hating 

Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics 0 
Right-wing Women 

Letters from a War Zone: Writings 1976-1989 
Pornography and Civil Rights (with Catharine A. MacKinnon) 


the new womans broken heart: short stories 
Ice and Fire 




Published by the Penguin Group 

Penguin Books USA Inc, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 
10014, U.S.A. 

Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England 
Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia 
Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, 
Canada, M4V 3B2 

Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New 

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth , 

Middlesex, England 

Published by Plume, an imprint of Dutton Signet, a 
division of Penguin Books USA Inc. 

This paperback edition of Pornography first published in 1989 by 
Dutton, an imprint of Dutton Signet, a division of Penguin Books 
USA Inc Published simultaneously in Canada by Fitthenry and 
Whiteside, Limited, Toronto. 

Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1981 by Andrea Dworkin 
Introduction copyright © 1989 by Andrea Dworkin 

All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. 

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any 
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical , including photocopy, 
recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known 
or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, 
except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection 
with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 89-51147 
ISBN: 0-452-26793-5 
10 9876543 

The author gratefully acknowledges permission from the following 
sources to reprint material in this book: 

Gena Corea for an unpublished interview with Dr. Herbert Ratner, 
September 20, 1979. 

Alex de Jonge for his translation of four lines from Journaux 
Completes by Charles Baudelaire, cited in Baudelaire : Prince of Clouds 
by Alex de Jonge, copyright © 1976 by Alex de Jonge. 

Grove Press, Inc., for Justine from The Complete Marquis de Sade 
by Marquis de Sade, translated by Richard Seaver and Austryn 
Wainhouse, copyright © 1965 by Richard Seaver and Austryn 

The Institute for Sex Research, Indiana University, for Sex Of- 
fenders: An Analysis of Types by Paul H. Gebhard, John H. Gagnon, 
Wardell B. Pomeroy, and Cornelia V. Christenson, published by 
Harper & Row, Publishers, and Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., Medical 
Books © 1965 by The Institute for Sex Research. And for Sexual 
Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, 
and Clyde E. Martin, published by W. B. Saunders Company, 
copyright © 1948 by W. B. Saunders Company. 

Robin Morgan for "The Network of the Imaginary Mother" in Lady 
of the Beasts: Poems, published by Random House, copyright © 1976 
by Robin Morgan. 

New Directions for two lines from A Season in Hell by Arthur 
Rimbaud, translated by Louise Varese, copyright © 1945, 1952, 1961 by 
New Directions. 

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. for "Poem I" from "21 Love Poems" 
in Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich, copyright © 1978 
by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 

Portions of this book have appeared in slightly altered form in New 
Political Science, Sinister Wisdom, Mother Jones, and Ms. 

For John Stoltenberg 
In Memory of Rose Keller 

Troubles walk in long lines. 

Russian proverb 

No two of us think alike about it, and yet it is clear to 
me, that question underlies the whole movement, 
and all our little skirmishing for better laws, and the 
right to vote, will yet be swallowed up in the real 
question, viz: Has woman a right to herself? It is very 
little to me to have the right to vote, to own property, 
etc., if I may not keep my body, and its uses, in my 
absolute right. Not one wife in a thousand can do 
that now. 

Lucy Stone, in a letter to Antoinette Brown, 

July 11, 1855 

Sexual freedom, then, means the abolition of pros- 
titution both in and out of marriage; means the 
emancipation of woman from sexual slavery and her 
coming into ow nership and control of her own body; 
means the end of her pecuniary dependence upon 
man, so that she may never even seemingly have to 
procure whatever she may desire or need by sexual 
favors , 

Victoria YVoodhull, “Tried As By Fire; 
or, The True and The False, Socially,” 1874 

He said that life is very expensive. Even women 

are more expensive. That w hen he wants to f a 

woman they want so much money that he gives up 
the idea. 

1 pretended I didn't hear, because 1 don't speak 

Carolina Maria dc Jesus, Child of the Dark 


Introduction xiii 

Preface lvi 

1 Power 13 

2 Men and Boys 48 

3 The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) 70 

4 Objects 101 

5 Force 129 

6 Pornography 199 

7 Whores 203 

Acknowledgments 225 

Notes 227 

Bibliography 239 

Index 287 



I did not hesitate to let it be known of me, that the 
white man who expected to succeed in whipping, 
must also succeed in killing me. 

Frederick Douglass, Narrative 
of the Life of Frederick Douglass 
An American Slave Written by 

In 1838, at the age of 21, Frederick Douglass became a 
runaway slave, a hunted fugitive. Though later renowned 
as a powerful political orator, he spoke his first public 
words with trepidation at an abolitionist meeting — a meet- 
ing of white people — in Massachusetts in 1841. Abolitionist 
leader William Lloyd Garrison recalled the event: 

He came forward to the platform with a hesitancy and 
embarrassment, necessarily the attendants of a sensi- 
tive mind in such a novel position. After apologizing 
for his ignorance, and reminding the audience that 
slavery was a poor school for the human intellect and 
heart, he proceeded to narrate some of the facts in 
his own history as a slave. ... As soon as he had taken 
his seat, filled with hope and admiration, I rose . . . 
[and] . . . reminded the audience of the peril which 
surrounded this self-emancipated young man at the 
North, — even in Massachusetts, on the soil of the Pil- 
grim Fathers, among the descendants of revolutionary 


sires; and I appealed to them, whether they would 
ever allow him to be carried back into slavery — law or 
no law, constitution or no constitution. 1 

Always in danger as a fugitive, Douglass became an or- 
ganizer for the abolitionists; the editor of his own news- 
paper, which advocated both abolition and women’s rights; 
a station chief for the underground railroad; a close com- 
rade of John Brown’s; and the only person willing, at the 
Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, to second Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton’s resolution demanding the vote for women. To 
me, he has been a political hero: someone whose passion 
for human rights was both visionary and rooted in action; 
whose risk was real, not rhetorical; whose endurance in 
pursuing equality set a standard for political honor. In his 
writings, which were as eloquent as his orations, his re- 
pudiation of subjugation was uncompromising. His polit- 
ical intelligence, which was both analytical and strategic, 
was suffused with emotion: indignation at human pain, 
grief at degradation, anguish over suffering, fury at apathy 
and collusion. He hated oppression. He had an empathy 
for those hurt by inequality that crossed lines of race, gen- 
der, and class because it was an empathy animated by his 
own experience — his own experience of humiliation and 
his own experience of dignity. 

To put it simply, Frederick Douglass was a serious man — 
a man serious in the pursuit of freedom. Well, you see the 
problem. Surely it is self-evident. What can any such thing 
have to do with us — with women in our time? Imagine — 
in present time — a woman saying, and meaning, that a 
man who expected to succeed in whipping, must also suc- 
ceed in killing her. Suppose there were a politics of lib- 
eration premised on that assertion — an assertion not of 
ideology but of deep and stubborn outrage at being mis- 

1. William Lloyd Garrison, Prelace, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass An 
American Slave Written by Himself \ Frederick Douglass, ed. Benjamin Quarles 
(Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, I960), 


used, a resolute assertion, a serious assertion by serious 
women. What are serious women; are there any; isn’t ser- 
ousness about freedom by women for women grotesquely 
comic; we don’t want to be laughed at, do we? What would 
this politics of liberation be like? Where would we find it? 
What would we have to do? Would we have to do some- 
thing other than dress for success? Would we have to stop 
the people who are hurting us from hurting us? Not debate 
them; stop them. Would we have to stop slavery? Not dis- 
cuss it; stop it. Would we have to stop pretending that our 
rights are protected in this society? Would we have to be 
so grandiose, so arrogant, so unfeminine, as to believe that 
the streets we walk on, the homes we live in, the beds we 
sleep in, are ours — belong to us — really belong to us: we 
decide what is right and what is wrong and if something 
hurts us, it stops. It is, of course, gauche to be too sincere 
about these things, and it is downright ridiculous to be 
serious. Intelligent people are well mannered and mod- 
erate, even in pursuing freedom. Smart women whisper 
and say please. 

Now imagine Cherry Tart or Bunny or Pet or Beaver 
saying, and meaning, that a man who expected to succeed 
in whipping must also succeed in killing her. She says it; 
she means it. It is not a pornographic scenario in which 
she is the dummy forced by the pimp-ventriloquist to say 
the ubiquitous No-That-Means-Yes. It is not the usual sex- 
ual provocation created by pornographers using a woman’s 
body, the subtext of which is: I refuse to be whipped so 
whip me harder, whip me more; I refuse to be whipped, 
what I really want is for you to kill me; whip me, then kill 
me; kill me, then whip me; whatever you want, however 
you want it— was it good for you? Instead, the piece on 
the page or in the film steps down and steps out: I’m real, 
she says. Like Frederick Douglass, she will be hesitant and 
embarrassed. She will feel ignorant. She will tell a first- 
person story about her own experience in prostitution, in 
pornography, as a victim of incest, as a victim of rape, as 
someone who has been beaten or tortured, as someone 


who has been bought and sold. She may not remind her 
audience that sexual servitude is a poor school for the 
human intellect and heart — sexually violated, often since 
childhood, she may not know the value of her human 
intellect or her human heart — and the audience cannot be 
counted on to know that she deserved better than she got. 
Will there be someone there to implore the audience to 
help her escape the pornography — law or no law, consti- 
tution or no constitution; will the audience understand that 
as long as the pornography of her exists she is a captive 
of it, a fugitive from it? Will the audience be willing to 
fight for her freedom by fighting against the pornography 
of her, because, as Linda Marchiano said of Deep Throat, 
“every time someone watches that film, they are watching 
me being raped” 2 ? Will the audience understand that she 
is standing in for those who didn’t get away; will the au- 
dience understand that those who didn’t get away were 
someone — each one was someone? Will the audience un- 
derstand what stepping down from the page or out of the 
film cost her — what it took for her to survive, for her to 
escape, for her to dare to speak now about what happened 
to her then? 

“I’m an incest survivor, ex-pornography model, and ex- 
prostitute,” the woman says. “My incest story begins before 
preschool and ends many years later — this was with my 
father. I was also molested by an uncle and a minis- 
ter .. . my father forced me to perform sexual acts with 
men at a stag party when I was a teenager. . . . My father 
was my pimp in pornography. There were three occasions 
from ages nine to sixteen when he forced me to be a por- 
nography model ... in Nebraska, so, yes, it does happen 
here .” 3 

I was thirteen when I was forced into prostitution and 

2. Public Hearings on Ordinances to Add Pornography as Discrimination 
Against Women, Minneapolis City Council, Government Operations Committee, 
December 12 and 13, 1983, in transcript available from Organizing Against 
Pornography, 734 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, Mn. 55407, p. 16. 

3. Name withheld, manuscript. 


pornography, the woman says. I was drugged, raped, 
gang-raped, imprisoned, beaten, sold from one pimp to 
another, photographed by pimps, photographed by tricks; 
I was used in pornography and they used pornography 
on me; “[t]hey knew a child’s face when they looked into 
it. It was clear that I was not acting of my own free will. I 
was always covered with welts and bruises. ... It was even 
clearer that I was sexually inexperienced. I literally didn’t 
know what to do. So they showed me pornography to teach 
me about sex and then they would ignore my tears as they 
positioned my body like the women in the pictures and 
used me .” 4 

“As I speak about pornography, here, today,” the 
woman says, “I am talking about my life.” I was raped by 
my uncle when I was ten, by my stepbrother and stepfather 
by the time I was twelve. My stepbrother was making por- 
nography of me by the time I was fourteen. “I was not 
even sixteen years old and my life reality consisted of suck- 
ing cocks, posing nude, performing sexual acts and actively 
being repeatedly raped .” 5 

These are the women in the pictures; they have stepped 
out, though the pictures may still exist. They have become 
very serious women; serious in the pursuit of freedom. 
There are many thousands of them in the United States, 
not all first put in pornography as children though most 
were sexually molested as children, raped or otherwise 
abused again later, eventually becoming homeless and 
poor. They are feminists in the antipornography move- 
ment, and they don’t want to debate “free speech.” Like 
Frederick Douglass, they are fugitives from the men who 
made a profit off of them. They live in jeopardy, always 
more or less in hiding. They organize to help others escape. 
They write — in blood, their own. They publish sometimes, 
including their own newsletters. They demonstrate; thev 

4. Sarah Wynter, pseudonym, manuscript, June 19, 1985. 

5. Name withheld, manuscript; also testimony before the Subcommittee on Ju- 
venile Justice of the Committee on the Judicial ) , United States Senate, Septem- 
ber 12, 1984. 


resist; they disappear when the danger gets too close. The 
Constitution has nothing for them — no help, no protec- 
tion, no dignity, no solace, no justice. The law has nothing 
for them — no recognition of the injuries done them by 
pornography, no reparations for what has been taken from 
them. They are real, and even though this society will do 
nothing for them, they are women who have resolved that 
the man who expects to succeed in whipping must also 
succeed in killing them. This changes the nature of the 
women’s movement. It must stop slavery. The runaway 
slave is now part of it. 


One new indulgence was to go out evenings alone. 
This I worked out carefully in my mind, as not 
only a right but a duty. Why should a woman be 
deprived of her only free time, the time allotted 
to recreation? Why must she be dependent on 
some man, and thus forced to please him if she 
wished to go anywhere at night? 

A stalwart man once sharply contested my claim 
to this freedom to go alone. “Any true man,” he 
said with fervor, “is always ready to go with a 
woman at night. He is her natural protector.” 
“Against what?” I inquired. As a matter of fact, the 
thing a woman is most afraid to meet on a dark 
street is her natural protector. Singular. 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 

The Living of Charlotte 
Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography 

She was thirteen. She was at a Girl Scout camp in northern 
Wisconsin. She went for a long walk in the woods alone 
during the day. She had long blond hair. She saw three 
hunters reading magazines, talking, joking. One looked up 
and said: “There’s a live one.” She thought they meant a 
deer. She ducked and started to run away. They nfeant 
her. They chased her, caught her, dragged her back to 


where they were camped. The magazines were pornog- 
raphy of women she physically resembled: blond, childlike. 
They called her names from the pornography: Little Go- 
diva, Golden Girl, also bitch and slut. They threatened to 
kill her. They made her undress. It was November and 
cold. One held a rifle to her head; another beat her breasts 
with his rifle. All three raped her — penile penetration into 
the vagina. The third one couldn’t get hard at first so he 
demanded a blow job. She didn’t know what that was. The 
third man forced his penis into her mouth; one of the 
others cocked the trigger on his rifle. She was told she had 
better do it right. She tried. When they were done with 
her they kicked her: they kicked her naked body and they 
kicked leaves and pine needles on her. “[T]hey told me 
that if I wanted more, that I could come back the next 
day .” 6 

She was sexually abused when she was three by a boy 
who was fourteen— it was a “game” he had learned from 
pornography. “[I]t seems really bizarre to me to use the 
word ‘boy’ because the only memory I have of this person 
is as a three year old. And as a three year old he seemed 
like a really big man.” When she was a young adult she 
was drugged by men who made and sold pornography. 
She remembers flashing lights, being forced onto a stage, 
being undressed by two men and sexually touched by a 
third. Men were waving money at her: “one of them shoved 
it in my stomach and essentially punched me. I kept won- 
dering how it was possible that they couldn’t see that I 
didn’t want to be there, that I wasn’t there willingly .” 7 

She had a boyfriend. She was twenty-one. One night he 
went to a stag party and watched pornography films. He 
called her up to ask if he could have sex with her. She felt 
obligated to make him happy. “I also felt that the refusal 
would be indicative of sexual quote unquote hang-ups on 
my part and that I was not quote unquote liberal enough. 

6. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, pp. 38-39. 

7. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, pp. 39-41. 


When he arrived, he informed me that the other men at 
the party were envious that he had a girlfriend to fuck. 
They wanted to fuck too after watching the pornography. 
He informed me of this as he was taking his coat off.” He 
had her perform oral sex on him: “I did not do this of my 
own volition. He put his genitals in my face and he said 
‘Take it all.’ ” He fucked her. The whole encounter took 
about five minutes. Then he dressed and went back to the 
party. “I felt ashamed and numb and I also felt very used." 8 

She was seventeen, he was nineteen. He was an art stu- 
dent. He used her body for photography assignments by 
putting her body in contorted positions and telling her 
rape stories to get the expression he wanted on her face: 
fear. About a year later he had an assignment to do body 
casts in plaster. He couldn't get models because the plaster 
was heavy and caused fainting. She was a premed student. 
She tried to explain to him how deleterious the effects of 
the plaster were. “When you put plaster on your body, it 
sets up, it draws the blood to the skin and the more area 
it covers on your body, the more blood is drawn to your 
skin. You become dizzy and nauseous and sick to your 
stomach and finally faint.” He needed his work to be ex- 
hibited, so he needed her to model. She tried. She couldn’t 
stand the heat and the weight of the plaster. “He wanted 
me to be in poses where I had to hold my hands up over 
my head, and they would be numb and they would fall. 
He eventually tied my hands over my head.” They got 
married. During the course of their marriage he began to 
consume more and more pornography. He would read 
excerpts to her from the magazines about group sex, wife 
swapping, anal intercourse, and bondage. They would go 
to pornography films and wet T-shirt contests with friends. 
“I felt devastated and disgusted watching it. I was told by 
those men that if 1 w asn’t as smart as I was and if I would 
be more sexually liberated and more sexy that 1 would get 
along a lot better in the world and that they and a lot of 

N. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, p. 41. 


other men would like me more. About this time I started 
feeling very terrified. I realized that this wasn’t a joke any- 
more.” She asked her mother for help but was told that 
divorce was a disgrace and it was her responsibility to make 
the marriage work. He brought his friends home to act 
out the scenarios from the pornography. She found the 
group sex humiliating and disgusting, and to prevent it 
she agreed to act out the pornography in private with her 
husband. She began feeling suicidal. He was transferred 
to an Asian country in connection with his job. The por- 
nography in the country where they now lived was more 
violent. He took her to live sex shows where women had 
sex with animals, especially snakes. Increasingly, when she 
was asleep he would force intercourse on her. Then he 
started traveling a lot, and she used his absence to learn 
karate. “One night when I was in one of those porno- 
graphic institutions, I was sitting with a couple of people 
that I had known, watching the women on stage and watch- 
ing the different transactions and the sales of the women 
and the different acts going on, and I realized that my life 
wasn’t any different than these women except that it was 
done in the name of marriage. I could see how I was being 
seasoned to the use of pornography and I could see what 
was coming next. I could see more violence and I could 
see more humiliation and I knew at that point I was either 
going to die from it, I was going to kill myself, or I was 
going to leave. And I was feeling strong enough that I 
left. . . . Pornography is not a fantasy, it was my life, 
reality .” 9 

At the time she made this statement, she couldn’t have 
been older than twenty-two. She was terrified that the peo- 
ple would be identifiable, and so she spoke in only the most 
general terms, never specifying their relationship to her. 
She said she had lived in a house with a divorced woman, 
that woman’s children, and the ex-husband, who refused 
to leave. She had lived there for eighteen years. During 

9. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, pp. 42—46. 


that time, “the woman was regularly raped by this man. 
He would bring pornographic magazines, books, and par- 
aphernalia into the bedroom with him and tell her that if 
she did not perform the sexual acts that were being done 
in the ‘dirty’ books and magazines he would beat and kill 
her. I know about this because my bedroom was right next 
to hers. I could hear everything they said. I could hear 
her screams and cries. In addition, since I did most of the 
cleaning in the house, I would often come across the books, 
magazines, and paraphernalia that were in the bedroom 
and other rooms of the house. . . . Not only did I suffer 
through the torture of listening to the rapes and tortures 
of a woman, but I could see what grotesque acts this man 
was performing on her from the pictures in the porno- 
graphic materials. I was also able to see the systematic 
destruction of a human being taking place before my eyes. 
At the time I lived with the woman, I was completely help- 
less, powerless in regard to helping this woman and her 
children in getting away from this man.” As a child, she 
was told by the man tha f if she ever told or tried to run 
away he would break her arms and legs and cut up her 
face. He whipped her with belts and electrical cords. He 
made her pull her pants down to beat her. “I was touched 
and grabbed where I did not want him to touch me.” She 
was also locked in dark closets and in the basement for 
long periods of time . 10 

She was raped by two men. They were acting out the 
pornographic video game “Custer’s Revenge.” She was 
American Indian; they were white. “They held me down 
and as one was running the tip of his knife across my face 
and throat he said, ‘Do you want to play Custer’s Last 
Stand? It’s great. You lose but you don’t care, do you? You 
like a little pain, don’t you, squaw.’ They both laughed and 
then he said, ‘There is a lot of cock in Custer’s Last Stand. 
You should be grateful, squaw, that all-American boys like 

10. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, pp. 65-66. 


us want you. Maybe we will tie you to a tree and start a 
fire around you.’ 

Her name is Jayne Stamen. She is currently in jail. In 
1986, she hired three men to beat up her husband. She 
wanted him to know what a beating felt like. He died. She 
was charged with second-degree murder; convicted of 
first-degree manslaughter; sentenced to eight-and-a-half 
to twenty-five years. She was also convicted of criminal 
solicitation: in 1984 she asked some men to kill her hus- 
band for her, then reneged; she was sentenced on the 
criminal solicitation charge to two-and-a-third to seven 
years. The sentences are to run consecutively. She was 
tortured in her marriage by a man consumed by acting 
out pornography. He tied her up when he raped her; he 
broke bones; he forced anal intercourse; he beat her mer- 
cilessly; he penetrated her vagina with objects, “his rifle, 
or a long-necked wine decanter, or twelve-inch artificial 
rubber penises.” He shaved the hair off her pubic area 
because he wanted, in his words, to “screw a baby’s cunt." 
He slept with a rifle and kept a knife by the bed; he would 
threaten to cut her face with the knife if she didn’t act out 
the pornography, and he would use the knife again if she 
wasn’t showing pleasure. He called her all the names: 
whore, slut, cunt, bitch. “He used to jerk himself off on 
my chest while I was sleeping, or I would get woke up with 
him coming in my face and then he’d urinate on me.” She 
tried to escape several times. He came after her armed 
with his rifle. She became addicted to alcohol and pills. 
“The papers stated that I didn’t report [the violence] to 
the police. I did have the police at my home on several 
occasions. Twice on Long Island was for the gun threats, 
and once in Starrett City was also for the gun. The rest of 
the times were for the beatings and throwing me out of 
the house. A few times the police helped me get away from 
him with my clothes and the boys. I went home to my 

II. See Public Hearings, Minneapolis, pp. bb-f>7. 


mom’s. [He came after her with a rifle.] I went to the 
doctor’s and hospitals on several occasions, too, but I could 
not tell the truth on how I ‘hurt myself.’ I always covered 
up for him, as I knew my life depended on that.” The 
judge wouldn’t admit testimony on the torture because he 
said the husband wasn’t on trial. The defense lawyer said 
in private that he thought she probably enjoyed the abusive 
sex. Jayne’s case will be appealed, but she may well have 
to stay in jail at Bedford Hills, a New York State prison 
for women, for the duration of the appeal because Women 
Against Pornography, a group that established the Defense 
Fund for Jayne Stamen, has not been able to raise bail 
money for her. Neither have I or others who care. It isn’t 
chic to help such women; they aren’t the Black Panthers. 
Ironically, there are many women — and recently a teenage 
girl, a victim of incest — who have hired others to kill the 
men — husbands, fathers — who were torturing them be- 
cause they could not bear to do it themselves. Or the 
woman pours gasoline on the bed when he sleeps and lights 
the hre. Jayne didn’t hire the men to kill her husband; the 
real question may be, why not? why didn’t she? Women 
don’t understand self-defense the way men do — perhaps 
because sexual abuse destroys the self. We don’t feel we 
have a right to kill just because we are being beaten, raped, 
tortured, and terrorized. We are hurt for a long time be- 
fore we fight back. Then, usually, we are punished: “I have 
lived in a prison for ten years, meaning my marriage,” 
says Jayne Stamen, “. . . and now they have me in a real 
prison .” 12 

I’ve quoted from statements, all made in public forums, 
by women I know well (except for Jayne Stamen; I’ve 
talked with her but I haven’t met her). I can vouch for 
them; I know the stories are true. The women who made 
these particular statements are only a few of the thousands 
of women I have met, talked with, questioned: women who 

12. Direa quotations are from the Statement of Jayne Stamen, issued by Women 
Against Pornography, February 14, 1988. 


have been hurt by pornography. The women are real to 
me. I know what they look like standing tall; I’ve seen the 
fear; I’ve watched them remember; I’ve talked with them 
about other things, all sorts of things: intellectual issues, 
the weather, politics, school, children, cooking. I have some 
idea of their aspirations as individuals, the ones they lost 
during the course of sexual abuse, the ones they cherish 
now. I know them. Each one, for me, has a face, a voice, 
a whole life behind her face and her voice. Each is more 
eloquent and more hurt than I know how to convey. Since 
1974, when my book Woman Hating was first published, 
women have been seeking me out to tell me that they have 
been hurt by pornography; they have told me how they 
have been hurt in detail, how much, how long, by how 
many. They thought I might believe them, initially, I think, 
because I took pornography seriously in Woman Hating. I 
said it was cruel, violent, basic to the way our culture sees 
and treats women — and I said the hate in it was real. Well, 
they knew that the hate in it was real because they had 
been sexually assaulted by that hate. One does not make 
the first tentative efforts to communicate about this abuse 
to those who will almost certainly ridicule one. Some 
women took a chance on me; and it was a chance, because 
I often did not want to listen. I had my limits and my 
reasons, like everyone else. For many years, I heard the 
same stories I have tried to encapsulate here: the same 
stories, sometimes more complicated, sometimes more sav- 
age, from thousands of women, most of whom hadn’t 
dared to tell anyone. No part of the country was exempt; 
no age group; no racial or ethnic group; no “life-style” 
however “normal” or “alternative.” The statements I have 
paraphrased here are not special: not more sadistic, not 
chosen by me because they are particularly sickening or 
offensive. In fact, they are not particularly sickening or 
offensive. They simply are what happens to women who 
are brutalized by the use of pornography on them. 

Such first-person stories from women are dismissed by 
defenders of pornography as “anecdotal”; they misuse the 


word to make it denote a story, probably fictive, that is 
small, trivial, inconsequential, proof only of some defect 
in the woman herself — the story tells us nothing about 
pornography but it tells us all we need to know about the 
woman. She’s probably lying; maybe she really liked it; and 
if it did happen, how could anyone (sometimes referred 
to as “a smart girl like you”) be stupid enough, simple- 
minded enough, to think that pornography had anything 
to do with it? Wasn’t there, as one grinning adversary al- 
ways asks, also coffee in the house? The coffee, he suggests, 
is more likely to be a factor in the abuse than the pornog- 
raphy — after all, the bad effects of coffee have been 
proven in the laboratory. What does one do when women’s 
lives are worth so little — worth arrogant, self-satisfied rid- 
icule and nothing else, not even the appearance, however 
false, of charity or concern? Alas, one answers: the man 
(the husband, the boyfriend, the rapist, the torturer — you 
or your colleague or your best friend or your buddy) wasn’t 
reading the coffee label when he tied the knots; the di- 
rections he followed are found in pornography, and, 
frankly, they are not found anywhere else. The first-person 
stories are human experience, raw and true, not mediated 
by dogma or ideology or social convention; “human” is the 
trick word in the sentence. If one values women as human 
beings, one cannot turn away or refuse to hear so that one 
can refuse to care without bearing responsibility for the 
refusal. One cannot turn one’s back on the women or on 
the burden of memory they carry. If one values women 
as human beings, one will not turn one’s back on the 
women who are being hurt today and the women who will 
be hurt tomorrow. 

Most of what we know about the experience of punish- 
ment, the experience of torture, the experience of socially 
sanctioned sadism, comes from the first-person testimony 
of individuals — “anecdotal” material. We have the first- 
person stories of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, 
of Primo Levy and Elie Wiesel, of Nadezhda Mandelstam 


and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Others in the same or dif- 
ferent circumstances of torture and terror have spoken 
out to bear witness. Often, they were not believed. They 
were shamed, not honored. We smelled the humiliation, 
the degradation, on them; we turned away. At the same 
time, their stories were too horrible, too impossible, too 
unpleasant; their stories indicted those who stood by and 
did nothing — most of us, most of the time. Respectfully, 
I suggest that the women who have experienced the sadism 
of pornography on their bodies — the women in the por- 
nography and the women on whom the pornography is 
used — are also survivors; they bear witness, now, for them- 
selves, on behalf of others. “Survivors,” wrote Terrence 
Des Pres, “are not individuals in the bourgeois sense. They 
are living remnants of the general struggle, and certainly 
they know it.” ls Of these women hurt by pornography, we 
must say that they know it now. Before, each was alone, 
unspeakably alone, isolated in terror and humiliated even 
by the will to live — it was the will to live, after all, that 
carried each woman from rape to rape, from beating to 
beating. Each had never heard another’s voice saying the 
words of what had happened, telling the same story; be- 
cause it is the same story, over and over — and none of 
those who escaped, survived, endured, are individuals in 
the bourgeois sense. These women will not abandon the 
meaning of their own experience. That meaning is: por- 
nography is the orchestrated destruction of women’s bod- 
ies and souls; rape, battery, incest, and prostitution 
animate it; dehumanization and sadism characterize it; it 
is war on women, serial assaults on dignity, identity, and 
human worth; it is tyranny. Each woman who has survived 
knows from the experience of her own life that pornog- 
raphy is captivity — the woman trapped in the picture used 
on the woman trapped wherever he’s got her. 

13. Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (New 
York: Poc ket Books, 1977), p. 39, 



The burden of proof will be on those of us who 
have been victimized. If I [any woman] am able to 
prove that the picture you are holding, the one 
where the knife is stuffed up my vagina, was taken 
when my pimp forced me at gunpoint and pho- 
tographed it without my consent, if my existence 
is proved real, I am coming to take what is mine. 
If I can prove that the movie you are looking at 
called Black Bondage , the one where my black skin 
is synonymous with filth and my bondage and my 
slavery is encouraged, caused me harm and dis- 
crimination, if my existence is proved real, I am 
coming to take what is mine. Whether you like it 
or not, the time is coming when you will have to 
get your fantasy off my ass. 

Therese Stanton, “Fighting for 
Our Existence” in Changing Men 
#15, Fall 1985 

In the fall of 1983, something changed. The speech of 
women hurt by pornography became public and real. It, 
they, began to exist in the sphere of public reality. Con- 
stitutional lawyer Catharine A. MacKinnon and I were 
hired by the City of Minneapolis to draft an amendment 
to the city’s civil rights law: an amendment that would 
recognize pornography as a violation of the civil rights of 
women, as a form of sex discrimination, an abuse of human 
rights. We were also asked to organize hearings that would 
provide a legislative record showing the need for such a 
law. Essentially, the legislators needed to know that these 
violations were systematic and pervasive in the population 
they represented, not rare, peculiar anomalies. 

The years of listening to the private stories had been 
years of despair for me. It was hopeless. I could not help. 
There was no help. I listened; I went on my way; nothing 
changed. Now, all the years of listening were knowledge, 
real knowledge that could be mined: a resource, not a 


burden and a curse. I knew how women were hurt by 
pornography. My knowledge was concrete, not abstract: 1 
knew the ways it was used; I knew how it was made; I knew 
the scenes of exploitation and abuse in real life — the lives 
of prostitutes, daughters, girlfriends, wives; I knew the 
words the women said when they dared to whisper what 
had happened to them; I could hear their voices in my 
mind, in my heart. I didn’t know that there were such 
women all around me, everywhere, in Minneapolis that 
fall. I was heartbroken as women I knew came forward to 
testify: though I listened with an outer detachment to the 
stories of rape, incest, prostitution, battery, and torture, 
each in the service of pornography, inside I wanted to 

The women who came forward to testify at the hearings 
held by the Minneapolis City Council on December 12 and 
13, 1983, gave their names and specified the area of the 
city in which they lived. They spoke on the record before 
a governmental body in the city where they lived; there 
they were, for family, neighbors, friends, employers, teach- 
ers, and strangers to see, to remember. They described in 
detail sexual abuse through pornography as it had hap- 
pened to them. They were questioned on their testimonv 
by Catharine MacKinnon and myself and also by members 
of the city council and sometimes the city attorney. There 
were photographers and television cameras. There were a 
couple of hundred people in the room. There was no 
safety, no privacy, no retreat, no protection; only a net of 
validation provided by the testimony of experts — clinical 
psychologists, prosecutors, experimental psychologists, so- 
cial scientists, experts in sexual abuse from rape crisis cen- 
ters and battered women’s shelters, and those who worked 
with sex offenders. The testimony of these experts was not 
abstract or theoretical; it brought the lives of more women, 
more children, into the room: more rape, more violation 
through pornography. They too were talking about real 
people who had been hurt, sometimes killed; they had 
seen, known, treated, interviewed, numbers of them. A 


new social truth emerged, one that had been buried in 
fear, shame, and the silence of the socially powerless: no 
woman hurt by pornography was alone — she never had 
been; no woman hurt by pornography would ever be alone 
again because each was — truly — a “living remnant of the 
general struggle.” What the survivors said was speech; the 
pornography had been, throughout their lives, a means of 
actively suppressing their speech. They had been turned 
into pornography in life and made mute; terrorized by it 
and made mute. Now, the mute spoke; the socially invisible 
were seen; the women were real; they mattered. This 
speech — their speech — was new in the world of public dis- 
course, and it was made possible by the development of a 
law that some called censorship. The women came forward 
because they thought that the new civil rights law recog- 
nized what had happened to them, gave them recourse 
and redress, enhanced their civil dignity and human worth. 
The law itself gave them existence : I am real; they believed 
me; I count; social policy at last will take my life into ac- 
count, validate my worth — me, the woman who was forced 
to fuck a dog; me, the woman he urinated on; me, the 
woman he tied up for his friends to use; me, the woman 
he masturbated in; me, the woman he branded or maimed; 
me, the woman he prostituted; me, the woman they gang- 

The law was passed twice in Minneapolis in 1983 and 
1984 by two different city councils; it was vetoed each time 
by the same mayor, a man active in Amnesty International, 
opposing torture outside of Minneapolis. The law was 
passed in 1984 in Indianapolis with a redrafted definition 
that targeted violent pornography — the kind “everyone” 
opposes. The city was sued for passing it; the courts found 
it unconstitutional. The appeals judge said that pornog- 
raphy did all the harm we claimed — it promoted insult 
and injury, rape and assault, even caused women to have 
lower wages — and that these effects proved its power as 
speech; therefore, it had to be protected. In 1985, the law 
was put on the ballot by popular petition in Cambridge, 


Massachusetts. The city council refused to allow it on the 
ballot; we had to sue for ballot access; the civil liberties 
people opposed our having that access; we won the court 
case and the city was ordered to put the law on the ballot. 
We got 42 percent of the vote, a higher percentage than 
feminists got on the first women’s suffrage referendum. 
In 1988, the law was on the ballot in Bellingham, Wash- 
ington, in the presidential election; we got 62 percent of 
the vote. The city had tried to keep us off the ballot; again 
we had to get a court order to gain ballot access. The City 
of Bellingham was sued by the ACLU in federal court for 
having the law, however unwillingly; a federal district 
judge found the law unconstitutional, simply reiterating 
the previous appeals court decision in the Indianapolis 
case — indeed, there was a statement that the harms of 
pornography were recognized and not in dispute. 

We have not been able to get the courts to confront a 
real woman plaintiff suing a real pornographer for de- 
priving her of real rights through sexual exploitation or 
sexual abuse. This is because the challenges to the civil 
rights law have been abstract arguments about speech, as 
if women’s lives are abstract, as if the harms are abstract, 
conceded but not real. The women trapped in the pictures 
continue to be perceived as the free speech of the pimps 
who exploit them. No judge seems willing to look such a 
woman, three-dimensional and breathing, in the face and 
tell her that the pimp’s use of her is his constitutionally 
protected right of speech; that he has a right to express 
himself by violating her. The women on whom the por- 
nography is used in assault remain invisible and speechless 
in these court cases. No judge has had to try to sleep at 
night having heard a real woman’s voice describing what 
happened to her, the incest, the rape, the gang rape, the 
battery, the forced prostitution. Keeping these women si- 
lent in courts of law is the main strategy of the free speech 
laywers who defend the pornography industry. Hey, they 
love literature; they deplore sexism. If some women get 
hurt, that’s the price we pay for freedom. Who are the 


“we”? What is the “freedom”? These speech-loving lawyers 
keep the women from speaking in court so that no judge 
will actually be able to listen to them. 

Women continue speaking out in public forums, even 
though we are formally and purposefully silenced in actual 
courts of law. Hearings were held by a subcommittee of 
the Senate Judiciary Committee on the effects of pornog- 
raphy on women and children; the Attorney General’s 
Commission on Pornography listened to the testimony of 
women hurt by pornography; women are demanding to 
speak at conferences, debates, on television, radio. This 
civil rights law is taught in law schools all over the country; 
it is written about in law journals, often favorably; increas- 
ingly, it has academic support; and its passage has been 
cited as precedent in at least one judicial decision finding 
that pornography in the workplace can be legally recog- 
nized as sexual harassment. The time of silence — at least 
the time of absolute silence — is over. And the civil rights 
law developed in Minneapolis has had an impact around 
the world. It is on the agenda of legislators in England, 
Ireland, West Germany, New Zealand, Tasmania, and 
Canada; it is on the agenda of political activists all over the 

The law itself is civil, not criminal. It allows people who 
have been hurt by pornography to sue for sex discrimi- 
nation. Under this law, it is sex discrimination to coerce, 
intimidate, or fraudulently induce anyone into pornog- 
raphy; it is sex discrimination to force pornography on a 
person in any place of employment, education, home, or 
any public place; it is sex discrimination to assault, physi- 
cally attack, or injure any person in a way that is directly 
caused by a specific piece of pornography — the pornog- 
raphers share responsibility for the assault; in the Bel- 
lingham version, it is also sex discrimination to defame any 
person through the unauthorized use in pornography of 
their name, image, and/or recognizable personal likeness; 
and it is sex discrimination to produce, sell, exhibit, or 
distribute pornography — to traffic in the exploitation of 


women, to traffic in material that provably causes aggres- 
sion against and lower civil status for women in society. 

The law’s definition of pornography is concrete, not ab- 
stract. Pornography is defined as the graphic, sexually ex- 
plicit subordination of women in pictures and/or words 
that also includes women presented dehumanized as sex- 
ual objects, things, or commodities; or women presented 
as sexual objects who enjoy pain or humiliation; or women 
presented as sexual objects who experience sexual pleasure 
in being raped; or women presented as sexual objects tied 
up or cut up or mutilated or bruised or physically hurt; 
or women presented in postures or positions of sexual 
submission, servility, or display; or women’s body parts — 
including but not limited to vaginas, breasts, buttocks — 
exhibited such that women are reduced to those parts; or 
women presented as whores by nature; or women pre- 
sented being penetrated by objects or animals; or women 
presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, torture, 
shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a 
context that makes these conditions sexual. If men, chil- 
dren, or transsexuals are used in any of the same ways, 
the material also meets the definition of pornography. 

For women hurt by pornography, this law simply de- 
scribes reality; it is a map of a real world. Because the law 
allows them to sue those who have imposed this reality on 
them— especially the makers, sellers, exhibitors, and dis- 
tributors of pornography — they have a way of redrawing 
the map. The courts now protect the pornography; they 
recognize the harm to women injudicial decisions — or they 
use words that say they recognize the harm — and then tell 
women that the Constitution protects the harm; profit is 
real to them and they make sure the pimps stay rich, even 
as women and their children are this country’s poor. The 
civil rights law is designed to confront both the courts and 
the pornographers with a demand for substantive, not the- 
oretical, equality. This law says: we have the right to stop 
them from doing this to us because we are human beings. 
“If my existence is proved real, I am coming to take what 


is mine,” Therese Stanton wrote for every woman who 
wants to use this law. How terrifying that thought must be 
to those who have been using women with impunity. 

Initially an amendment to a city ordinance, this law r has 
had a global impact because: (I) it tells the truth about 
what pornography is and does; (2) it tells the truth about 
how women are exploited and hurt by the use of pornog- 
raphy; (3) it seeks to expand the speech of women by taking 
the pornographers' gags out of our mouths; (4) it seeks to 
expand the speech and enhance the civil status of women 
by giving us the courts as a forum in which we will have 
standing and authority; (5) it is a mechanism for redistri- 
buting power, taking it from pimps, giving it to those they 
have been exploiting for profit, injuring for pleasure; (6) 
it says that women matter, including the women in the 
pornography. This law and the political vision and expe- 
rience that inform it are not going to go away. We are 
going to stop the pornographers. We are going to claim 
our human dignity under law. One ex-prostitute, who is 
an organizer for the passage of this civil rights law, wrote: 
“Confronting how I’ve been hurt is the hardest thing that 
I’ve ever had to do in my life. A hard life, if I may say 
so.” 14 She is right. Confronting the pornographers is eas- 
ier — their threats, their violence, their power. Confronting 
the courts is easier — their indifference, their contempt for 
women, their plain stupidity. Confronting the status quo 
is easier. Patience is easier and so is every form of political 
activism, however dangerous. Beaver is real, all right. A 
serious woman — formidable even — she is coming to take 
what is hers. 


That same night [July 20, 1944, the attempt by the 
generals to assassinate Hitler] he [Goebbels] turned 

14. Toby Summer, pseudonym, "Women, Lesbians and Prostitution: A Work- 
ingdass Dyke Speaks Out Against Buying Women for Sex," Lesbian Elhics, vol. 
2, no. 3, Summer 1987, p. 37. 


his house into “a prison, headquarters and court 
rolled into one”; Goebbels himself headed a com- 
mission of investigation; and he and Himmler 
cross-examined the arrested generals throughout 
the night. Those condemned, then or thereafter, 
were executed with revolting cruelty. They were 
hanged from meat-hooks and slowly strangled. 
Goebbels ordered a him to be made of their trial 
and execution; it was to be shown, in terrorem to 
Wehrmacht audiences. However, the reaction of 
the first audience was so hostile that it had to be 

Hugh Trevor-Roper in his 
introduction to Final Entries 1945: 
The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels 

As far as I can determine, Goebbels’ film of the generals 
slowly, horribly dying — their innards caving in from the 
force of gravity on their hung bodies, the slow strangu- 
lation pushing out their tongues and eyes and causing erec- 
tion (which strangulation invariably does in the male) — 
was the first snuff film. The master of hate propaganda 
didn’t get it right though — a rare lapse. Audiences became 
physically sick. These were Nazi audiences watching Nazi 
generals, men of power, the society’s patriarchs, so white 
they were Aryan; rulers, not slaves. It only works when 
the torture is done on those who have been dehumanized, 
made inferior — not just in the eyes of the beholder but in 
his real world. Goebbels started out with cartoons of Jews 
before the Nazis came to power; he could have moved on 
to the films made in Dachau in 1942, for instance, of “the 
reactions of the men placed in the Luftwaffe’s low-pressure 
chambers” 15 ; desensitizing his Nazi audiences to the hu- 
miliation, the torture, of Jews, he could have made a film 
that would have worked — of Jews hanging from meat 
hooks, slowly strangled. But never of power, never of those 

15. Roger Manveil and Heinrich Fraenkel, Himmler (New York: G. P. Putnam’s 
Sons, 19(55), p. 105. 


who were the same, never of those who had been fully 
human to the audience the day before, never of those who 
had been respected. Never. 

Des Pres says it is easier to kill if “the victim exhibits self- 
disgust; if he cannot lift his eyes for humiliation, or if lifted 
they show only emptiness . . .”' 6 There is some pornog- 
raphy in which women are that abject, that easy to kill, 
that close to being dead already. There is quite a lot of it; 
and it is highly prized, expensive. There is still more por- 
nography in which the woman wets her lips and pushes 
out her ass and says hurt me. She is painted so that the 
man cannot miss the mark: her lips are bright red so that 
he can find the way into her throat; her vaginal lips are 
pink or purple so that he can’t miss; her anus is darkened 
while her buttocks are flooded with light. Her eyes glisten. 
She smiles. Sticking knives up her own vagina, she smiles. 
She comes. The Jews didn’t do it to themselves and they 
didn’t orgasm. In contemporary American pornography, 
of course, the Jews do do it to themselves — they, usually 
female, seek out the Nazis, go voluntarily to concentration 
camps, beg a domineering Nazi to hurt them, cut them, 
burn them — and they do climax, stupendously, to both 
sadism and death. But in life, the Jews didn’t orgasm. Of 
course, neither do women; not in life. But no one, not even 
Goebbels, said the Jews liked it. The society agreed that 
the Jews deserved it, but not that they wanted it and not 
that it gave them sexual pleasure. There were no photo- 
graphs from Ravensbruck concentration camp of the pros- 
titutes who were incarcerated there along with other 
women gasping for breath in pleasure; the gypsies didn’t 
orgasm either. There were no photographs — real or sim- 
ulated — of the Jews smiling and waving the Nazis closer, 
getting on the trains with their hands happily fingering 
their exposed genitals or using Nazi guns, swastikas, or 
Iron Crosses for sexual penetration. Such behaviors would 
not have been credible even in a society that believed the 

16. Des Pres, The Survivor , p. 68. 


Jews were both subhuman and intensely sexual in the racist 
sense — the men rapists, the women whores. The questions 
now really are: why is pornography credible in our society . 1 ' 
how can anyone believe it? And then: how subhuman 
would women have to be for the pornography to be true? 
To the men who use pornography, how subhuman are 
women? If men believe the pornography because it makes 
them come — them, not the women — what is sex to men 
and how will women survive it? 

This book — written from 1977 through 1980, published 
in 1981 after two separate publishers reneged on contrac- 
tual agreements to publish it (and a dozen more refused 
outright), out of print in the United States for the last 
several years— takes power, sadism, and dehumanization 
seriously. I am one of those serious women. This book asks 
how power, sadism, and dehumanization work in pornog- 
raphy — against women, for men — to establish the sexual 
and social subordination of women to men. This book is 
distinguished from most other books on pornography by 
its bedrock conviction that the power is real, the cruelty is 
real, the sadism is real, the subordination is real: the po- 
litical crime against women is real. This book says that 
power used to destroy women is atrocity. Pornography: Men 
Possessing Women is not, and was never intended to be, an 
effete intellectual exercise. I want real change, an end to 
the social power of men over women; more starkly, his 
boot off my neck. In this book, I wanted to dissect male 
dominance; do an autopsy on it, but it wasn’t dead. Instead, 
there were artifacts — films, photographs, books — an ar- 
chive of evidence and documentation of crimes against 
women. This was a living archive, commercially alive, car- 
nivorous in its use of women, saturating the environment 
of daily life, explosive and expanding, vital because it was 
synonymous with sex for the men who made it and the 
men who used it — men so arrogant in their power over us 
that they published the pictures of what they did to us, 
how they used us, expecting submission from us, compli- 
ance; we were supposed to follow the orders implicit in 


the pictures. Instead, some of us understood that we could 
look at those pictures and see them — see the men. Know 
thyself, if you are lucky enough to have a self that hasn't 
been destroyed by rape in its many forms; and then, know 
the bastard on top of you. This book is about him, the 
collective him: who he is; what he wants; what he needs 
(the key to both his rage and his political vulnerability); 
how he’s diddling you and why it feels so bad and hurts 
so much; what’s keeping him in place on you; why he won’t 
move off of you; what it’s going to take to blow him loose. 
A different kind of blow job. Is he scared? You bet. 

Pornography : Men Possessing Women also puts pornogra- 
phy, finally, into its appropriate context. A system of dom- 
inance and submission, pornography has the weight and 
significance of any other historically real torture or pun- 
ishment of a group of people because of a condition of 
birth; it has the weight and significance of any other his- 
torically real exile of human beings from human dignity, 
the purging of them from a shared community of care and 
rights and respect. Pornography happens. It is not outside 
the world of material reality because it happens to women, 
and it is not outside the world of material reality because 
it makes men come. The man’s ejaculation is real. The 
woman on whom his semen is spread, a typical use in 
pornography, is real. Men characterize pornography as 
something mental because their minds, their thoughts, 
their dreams, their fantasies, are more real to them than 
women’s bodies or lives; in fact, men have used their social 
power to characterize a $10-billion-a-year trade in women 
as fantasy. This is a spectacular example of how those in 
power cannibalize not only people but language. “We do 
not know,” wrote George Steiner, “whether the study of 
the humanities, of the noblest that has been said and 
thought, can do very much to humanize. We do not know; 
and surely there is something rather terrible in our doubt 
whether the study and delight a man finds in Shakespeare 
make him any less capable of organizing a concentration 


camp .” 17 As long as language is a weapon of power — used 
to destroy the expressive abilities of the powerless by de- 
stroying their sense of reality- — we do know. Beaver knows. 

Some have said that pornography is a superficial target; 
but, truly, this is wrong. Pornography incarnates male su- 
premacy. It is the DNA of male dominance. Every rule of 
sexual abuse, every nuance of sexual sadism, every high- 
way and byway of sexual exploitation, is encoded in it. It’s 
what men want us to be, think we are, make us into; how 
men use us; not because biologically they are men but 
because this is how their social power is organized. From 
the perspective of the political activist, pornography is the 
blueprint of male supremacy; it shows how male suprem- 
acy is built. The political activist needs to know the 
blueprint. In cultural terms, pornography is the funda- 
mentalism of male dominance. Its absolutism on women 
and sexuality, its dogma, is merciless. Women are con- 
signed to rape and prostitution; heretics are disappeared 
and destroyed. Pornography is the essential sexuality of 
male power: of hate, of ownership, of hierarchy; of sadism, 
of dominance. The premises of pornography are control- 
ling in every rape and every rape case, whenever a woman 
is battered or prostituted, in incest, including in incest that 
occurs before a child can even speak, and in murder — 
murders of women by husbands, lovers, and serial killers. 
If this is superficial, what’s deep? 


When I first wrote this book, I was going to use these lines 
from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s letters as an epigraph: 
“If a woman ignores these wrongs, then may women as a 
sex continue to suffer them; there is no help for any of 

17. George Steiner, Language and Silence (New York: Atheneum, 1977), pp. 65- 


us — let us be dumb and die.” 1 * I changed my mind, because 
I decided that no woman deserved what pornography does 
to women: no woman, however stupid or evil, treacherous 
or cowardly, venal or corrupt; no woman. I also decided 
that even if some women did, I didn’t. I also remembered 
the brave women, the women who had survived, escaped; 
in the late 1970s, they were still silent, but I had he^rd 
them. I don’t want them, ever, to be dumb and die; and 
certainly not because some other woman somewhere is a 
coward or a fool or a cynic or a Kapo. There are women 
who will defend pornography, who don’t give a damn. 
There are women who will use pornography, including 
on other women. There are women wl o will work for 
pornographers — not as so-called models but as managers, 
lawyers, publicists, and paid writers of “opinion” and “jour- 
nalism.” There are women of every kind, all the time; there 
are always women who will ignore egregious wrongs. My 
aspirations for dignity and equality do not hinge on per- 
fection in myself or in any other woman; only on the hu- 
manity we share, fragile as that appears to be. I understand 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's desperation and the rage be- 
hind it, but I’m removing her curse. No woman’s betrayal 
will make us dumb and dead — no more and never again. 
Beaver’s endured too much to turn back now. 

— Andrea Dworkin 
New' York City 
March 1989 

18. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Letters of Elizabeth Barrett browning in Mary Daly. 
Gyn! Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), 
p. 153. 


This is a book about the meaning of pornography and the system 
of power in which pornography exists. Its particular theme is the 
power of men in pornography. 

This is not a book about the First Amendment. By definition the 
First Amendment protects only those who can exercise the rights it 
protects. Pornography by definition — “the graphic depiction of 
whores” — is trade in a class of persons who have been sys- 
tematically denied the rights protected by the First Amendment 
and the rest of the Bill of Rights. The question this book raises is 
not whether the First Amendment protects pornography or should, 
but whether pornography keeps women from exercising the rights 
protected by the First Amendment. 

This is not a book about obscenity. For something to be obscene, 
a judgment must be made that it is not fit to be shown or displayed. 
One possible (though not generally accepted) root meaning of the 
word obscene is the ancient Greek for “off stage” — in effect that 
which should not be shown, probably for aesthetic reasons. 
Another possible, more likely root meaning of the word obscene is 
the Latin for “against filth.” This suggests our own contemporary 
legal usage: is a given work filth and are we, the people, against it? 
If so, it is obscene. Obscenity is not a synonym for pornography. 
Obscenity is an idea; it requires a judgment of value. Pornography 
is concrete, “the graphic depiction of whores.” 

With respect to both obscenity and the First Amendment: this is 
not a book about what should or should not be shown; it is a book 
about the meaning of what is being shown. 

This book is not about the difference between pornography and 
erotica. Feminists have made honorable efforts to define the 
difference, in general asserting that erotica involves mutuality and 

reciprocity, whereas pornography involves dominance and vio-. 
lence. But in the male sexual lexicon, which is the vocabulary of 
power, erotica is simply high-class pornography: better produced, 
better conceived, better executed, better packaged, designed for a 
better class of consumer. As with the call girl and the streetwalker, 
one is turned out better but both are produced by the same system 
of sexual values and both perform the same sexual service. 
Intellectuals, especially, call what they themselves produce or like 
“erotica,” which means simply that a very bright person made or 
likes whatever it is. The pornography industry, larger than the 
record and film industries combined, sells pornography, “the 
graphic depiction of whores.” In the male system, erotica is a 
subcategory of pornography. 

Finally, this is not a liberal book about how pornography hurts 
all of us. As militant feminist Christabel Pankhurst wrote con- 
cerning the trade in women in 191 3: “Men have a simple remedy for 
this state of things. They can alter their way of life.”' 



For freedom is always relative to power, and the 
kind of freedom which at any moment it is most 
urgent to affirm depends on the nature of the power 
which is prevalent and established. 

R. H. Tawney, Equality 

The power of men is first a metaphysical assertion of self, an I am 
that exists a priori, bedrock, absolute, no embellishment or apology 
required, indifferent to denial or challenge. It expresses intrinsic 
authority. It never ceases to exist no matter how or on what 
grounds it is attacked; and some assert that it survives physical 
death. This self is not merely subjectively felt. It is protected by 
laws and customs, proclaimed in art and in literature, documented 
in history, upheld in the distribution of wealth. This self cannot be 
eradicated or reduced to nothing. It is. When the subjective sense of 
self falters, institutions devoted to its maintenance buoy it up. 

The first tenet of male-supremacist ideology is that men have this 
self and that women must, by definition, lack it. Male self seems to 
be a contradiction. On the one hand, it hangs suspended in thin air; 
it is magically perpetual; it requires nothing to sustain or support it. 
On the other hand, it is entitled to take what it wants to sustain or 
improve itself, to have anything, to requite any need at any cost. In 
fact, there is no contradiction, just a simple circle: the nature of the 
male self is that it takes, so that, by definition, the absolute self is 
expressed in the absolute right to take what it needs to sustain itself. 
The immutable self of the male boils down to an utterly un- 
selfconscious parasitism. The self is the conviction, beyond reason 



or scrutiny, that there is an equation between what one wants and 
the fact that one is. Going Descartes one better, this conviction 
might be expressed: I want and I am entitled to have, therefore I 

Self is incrementally expanded as the parasite drains self from 
those not entitled to it. To him it is given, by faith and action, from 
birth. To her it is denied, by faith and action, from birth. His is 
never big enough; hers is always too big, however small. As a child, 
the first self he drains is that of his mother — whatever she has of it is 
reserved for him. He feeds off her labor and her qualities. He uses 
them up. She is devoted, more or less; but the more is as much 
insult as the less; and nothing is ever enough unless it has been too 
much; all of this regardless of what or how much it has actually 
been. As the boy matures, he is encouraged to make the treacherous 
and apparently devastating “normal adjustment,” that is, to transfer 
his parasitism of the mother to other females, who have more 
succulent selves to which they are not entitled. In the course of his 
life, he reenacts this grand transition as often as he wishes. He finds 
the qualities and services he needs and he takes them. Especially he 
uses women, as Virginia Woolf described in A Room of One's Own , to 
enlarge himself. He is always in a panic, never large enough. But 
still, his self is immutable however much he may fear its ebbing 
away, because he keeps taking, and it is taking that is his immutable 
right and his immutable self. Even when he is obsessed with his 
need to be more and to have more, he is convinced of his right to be 
and to have. 

Second, power is physical strength used over and against others 
less strong or without the sanction to use strength as power. If 
physical strength is not used over and against others — for instance, 
if a slave is strong — it is not power. The right to physical strength 
as power, in a male-supremacist system, is vouchsafed to men. The 
second tenet of male supremacy is that men are physically stronger 
than women and, for that reason, have dominion over them. 
Physical strength in women that is not directly harnessed to 
“women's work” becomes an abomination, and its use against men, 
that is, as power, is anathema, forbidden, horribly punished. The 


reality of male physical strength in an absolute sense is less 
important than the ideology that sacralizes and celebrates it. In 
part, the physical strength of men over women is realized because 
men keep women physically weak. Men choose women who are 
weak as mates (unless heavy labor is part of the female role); and 
systematically in the raising of women, physical strength is 
undermined and sabotaged. Women are physically weaker the 
higher their economic class (as defined by men); the closer they are 
to power, the weaker they are. Even women who are physically 
strong must pretend to be weak to underline not only their 
femininity but also their upwardly mobile aesthetic and economic 
aspirations. Physical incapacity is a form of feminine beauty and a 
symbol of male wealth: he is rich enough to keep her unable to 
labor, useless, ornamental. Women are also often mutilated, 
physically or by fashion and custom, so that whatever physical 
strength they may have is meaningless. Male physical strength, 
regardless of its absolute measure, is meaningful. Male physical 
strength expressed as power, like male self, is not a subjective 
phenomenon; its significance is not whimsical. Laws and customs 
protect it; art and literature adore it; history depends on it; the 
distribution of weabh maintains it. Its absolute value is my- 
thologized and mystified so that women are cowed by its legend as 
well as its reality. The power of physical strength combines with 
the power of self so that he not only is, he is stronger; he not only 
takes, he takes by force. 

Third, power is the capacity to terrorize, to use self and strength 
to inculcate fear, fear in a whole class of persons of a whole class of 
persons. The acts of terror run the gamut from rape to battery to 
sexual abuse of children to war to murder to maiming to torture to 
enslaving to kidnapping to verbal assault to cultural assault to 
threats of death to threats of harm backed up by the ability and 
sanction to deliver. The symbols of terror are commonplace and 
utterly familiar: the gun, the knife, the bomb, the fist, and so on. 
Even more significant is the hidden symbol of terror, the penis. The 
acts and the symbols meet up in all combinations, so that terror is 
the outstanding theme and consequence of male history and malt 


culture, though it is smothered in euphemism, called glory or 
heroism. Even when it is villainous, it is huge and awesome. Terror 
issues forth from the male, illuminates his essential nature and his 
basic purpose. He chooses how much to terrorize, whether terror 
will be a dalliance or an obsession, whether he will use it brutally or 
subtly. But first, there is the legend of terror, and this legend is 
cultivated by men with sublime attention. In epics, dramas, 
tragedies, great books, slight books, television, films, history both 
documented and invented, men are giants who soak the earth in 
blood. Within the legend men have great chances and are the 
carriers of values. Within the legend, women are booty, along with 
gold and jewels and territory and raw materials. The legend of male 
violence is the most celebrated legend of mankind and from it 
emerges the character of man: he is dangerous. With the rise of 
social Darwinism in the nineteenth century and now in the 
pseudoscience of sociobiology, Man-the-Aggressor is at the apex of 
the evolutionary struggle, king of the earth because he is the most 
aggressive, the crudest. Male-supremacist biology, which now 
suffuses the social sciences, is, in fact, an essential element in the 
modem legend of terror rhat man spews forth celebrating himself: 
he is biologically ordained (where before he was God’s warrior) to 
terrorize women and other creatures into submission and con- 
formity. Failing that, terror will fulfill its promise; the male will 
wipe out whatever terror does not control. The third tenet of male- 
supremacist ideology, in a secular society where biology has 
replaced God (and is used to buttress anachronistic theology 
whenever necessary), is that men are biologically aggressive, 
inherently combative, eternally antagonistic, genetically cruel, 
hormonally prone to conflict, irredeemably hostile and warring. For 
those who remain devout, God endowed man with what, by any 
standard, must be considered a universally bad disposition, for- 
tunately put to good use in subduing women. The acts of terror, the 
symbols of terror, and the legend of terror all spread terror. This 
terror is not a psychological event as that phrase is commonly 
understood: it does not originate in the mind of the one experienc- 
ing it, though it fiercely resonates there. Instead, it is generated by 


cruel acts widely sanctioned and encouraged. It is also generated by 
its own enduring reputation, whether exquisite as in Homer, 
Genet, or Kafka; or fiendish as in Hitler, the real Count Dracula, or 
Manson. Rotting meat smells; violence produces terror. Men are 
dangerous; men are feared. 

Fourth, men have the power of naming, a great and sublime 
power. This power of naming enables men to define experience, to 
articulate boundaries and values, to designate to each thing its realm 
and qualities, to determine what can and cannot be expressed, to 
control perception itself. As Mary Daly, who first isolated this 
power, wrote in Beyond God the Father: . . it is necessary to grasp 

the fundamental fact that women have had the power of naming 
stolen from us.” 1 Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that 
every sentence both heralds and affirms it. Thought, experienced 
primarily as language, is permeated by the linguistic and perceptual 
values developed expressly to subordinate women. Men have 
defined the parameters of every subject. All feminist arguments, 
however radical in intent or consequence, are with or against 
assertions or premises implicit in the male system, which is made 
credible or authentic by the power of men to name. No transcen- 
dence of the male system is possible as long as men have the power 
of naming. Their names resonate wherever there is human life. As 
Prometheus stole fire from the gods, so feminists will have to steal 
the power of naming from men, hopefully to better effect. As with 
fire when it belonged to the gods, the power of naming appears 
magical: he gives the name, the name endures; she gives the name, 
the name is lost. But this magic is illusion. The male power of 
naming is upheld by force, pure and simple. On its own, without 
force to back it, measured against reality, it is not power; it is 
process, a more humble thing. “The old naming,” Mary Daly 
wrote, “was not the product of dialogue — a fact inadvertently 
admitted in the Genesis story of Adam’s naming the animals and 
the woman.” 2 It is the naming by decree that is power over and 
against those who are forbidden to name their own experience; it is 
the decree backed up by violence that writes the name indelibly in 
blood in male-dominated culture. The male does not merely name 


women evil; he exterminates nine million women as witches 
because he has named women evil. He does not merely name 
women weak; he mutilates the female body, binds it up so that it 
cannot move freely, uses it as toy or ornament, keeps it caged and 
stunted because he has named women weak. He says that the 
female wants to be raped; he rapes. She resists rape; he must beat 
her, threaten her with death, foicibly carry her off, attack her iathe 
night, use knife or fist; and still he says she wants it, they all do. 
She says no; he claims it means yes. He names her ignorant, then 
forbids her education. He does not allow her to use her mind or 
body rigorously, then names her intuitive and emotional. He 
defines femininity and when she does not conform he names her 
deviant, sick, beats her up, slices off her clitoris (repository of 
pathological masculinity), tears out her womb (source of her 
personality), lobotomizes or narcotizes her (perverse recognition 
that she can think, though thinking in a woman is named deviant). 
He names antagonism and violence, mixed in varying degrees, 
“sex”; he beats her and names it variously “proof of love” (if she is 
wife) or “eroticism” (if she is mistress). If she wants him sexually he 
names her slut; if she does not want him he rapes her and says she 
does; if she would rather study or paint he names her repressed and 
brags he can cure her pathological interests with the apocryphal 
“good fuck.” He names her housewife, fit only for the house, keeps 
her poor and utterly dependent, only to buy her with his money 
should she leave the house and then he calls her whore. He names 
her whatever suits him. He does what he wants and calls it what he 
likes. He actively maintains the power of naming through force and 
he justifies force through the power of naming. The world is his 
because he has named everything in it, including her. She uses this 
language against herself because it cannot be used any other way. 
The fourth tenet of male supremacy is that men, because they are 
intellectually and creatively existent, name things authentically. 
Whatever contradicts or subverts male naming is defamed out of 
existence; the power of naming itself, in the male system, is a form 
of force. 


Fifth, men have the power of owning. Historically, this power 
has been absolute; denied to some men by other men in times of 
slavery and other persecution, but in the main upheld by armed 
force and law. In many parts of the world, the male right to own 
women and all that issues from them (children and labor) is still 
absolute, and no human rights considerations seem to apply to 
captive populations of women. In the United States in the last 140 
years, this right has been legally modified, but the letter of the law, 
even where somewhat enlightened, is not its spirit. Wife beating 
and marital rape, pervasive here as elsewhere, are predicated on the 
conviction that a man’s ownership of his wife licenses whatever he 
wishes to do to her: her body belongs to him to use for his own 
sexual release, to beat, to impregnate. The male power of owning, 
by virtue of its historical centrality, is barely constrained by the 
modest legal restrictions put on it. True: a married woman in the 
United States today can own her own hairbrush and clothes, as she 
could not through most of the nineteenth century; should she run 
away from home, she is not likely to be hunted down like a 
runaway slave, as she would have been through most of the 
nineteenth century, nor will she be publicly flogged though in 
private she may still be beaten for her effrontery. But the power of 
male owning, like all male power, is not hindered by or confined to 
specifics. This power, like the others, is bigger than any of its 
discrete manifestations. The fifth tenet of male supremacy is the 
presumption that the male’s right to own the female and her issue is 
natural, predating history, postdating progress. Whatever he does 
to effect or maintain ownership is also natural; it is action 
originating in an ethic that is in no sense relative. The power of 
owning comes from the power of self defined as one who takes. 
Here the taking is elevated in significance: he takes, he keeps; once 
he has had, it is his. This relationship between the self that takes 
and ownership is precisely mirrored, for instance, in the relation- 
ship between rape and marriage. Marriage as an institution de- 
veloped from rape as a practice. Rape, originally defined as 
abduction, became marriage by capture. Marriage meant the taking 


was to extend in time, to be not only use of but lifelong possession 
of, or ownership. 

Sixth, the power of money is a distinctly male power. Money 
speaks, but it speaks with a male voice. In the hands of women, 
money stays literal; count it out, it buys what it is worth or less. In 
the hands of men, money buys women, sex, status, dignity, esteem, 
recognition, loyalty, all manner of possibility. In the hands of men, 
money does not only buy; it brings with it qualities, achievements, 
honor, respect. On every economic level, the meaning of money is 
significantly different for men than for women. Enough money, 
amassed by men, becomes clean even when it is dirty. Women are 
cursed for succeeding relative to their peer group of men. Poor 
women, in general, use money for the basic survival of themselves 
and their children. Poor men, in general, use money to an 
astonishing degree for pleasure. Rich women use money especially 
for adornment so that they wiH be desirable to men: money does not 
free them from the dicta of men. Rich men use money for pleasure 
and to make money. Money in the hands of a man signifies worth 
and accomplishment; in the hands of a woman, it is evidence of 
something foul, unwomanly ambition or greed. The sixth tenet of 
male supremacy is that money properly expresses masculinity. Men 
keep money for themselves. They dole it out to women and 
children. Men keep the marketplace for themselves: women earn 
less than men for doing equivalent work, despite the fact that 
everyone believes in equal pay for equal work; working women with 
college degrees on the average earn less than men with an eighth- 
grade education; job segregation and just plain exclusion from the 
labor force, through outright discrimination in hiring and also 
through forced pregnancy, keep women as a class poor, away from 
money as such, unable to earn adequate amounts of money or to 
accumulate it. 

Money has an extreme sexual component. As Phyllis Chesler and 
Emily Jane Goodman wrote in Women , Money and Power: “The male 
touch signifies economic dominance .” 3 When a poor man seduces or 
rapes a richer woman, his touch signifies economic rebellion. 
Money is primary in the acquisition of sex and sex is primary in the 

POWER 2 1 

making of money: it is tied into every industry through advertising 
(this car will bring you women, see that slinky thing draped over 
the hood), or items are eroticized in and of themselves because of 
what they cost. In the realm of money, sex and women are the same 
commodity. Wealth of any kind, to any degree, is an expression of 
male sexual power. 

The sexual meaning of money is acted out by men on a wide 
scale, but it is also internalized, applied to the interior functioning 
of male sexual processes. Men are supposed to hoard sperm as they 
are supposed to hoard money. A central religious imperative (in 
both Western and Eastern religions) discourages expenditures of 
sperm not instrumental in effecting impregnation, because wealth 
wasted instead of invested is wealth lost. The phrase “spermatic 
economy” expressed this same idea in the secular realm, par- 
ticularly in the nineteenth century. The idea that when a man 
spends sperm he uses up his most significant natural resource — that 
he spills his sons into nonexistence — both precedes and survives 
specific religious dogma and quasi-scientific theorizing. One mean- 
ing of the verb to spend is “to ejaculate.” One meaning of the verb to 
husband is “to conserve or save”; its archaic meaning is “to plow for 
the purpose of growing crops.” A husband, in this sense, is one who 
conserves or saves his sperm except to fuck for the purpose of 
impregnating. In the male system, control of money means sexual 
maturity, as does the ability to control ejaculation. The valuing and 
conserving of money, using money to make wealth — like the 
valuing and conserving of sperm, using sperm to make wealth — 
demonstrates a conformity to adult male values, both sexual and 
economic. A boy spends his sperm and his money on women. A 
man uses his sperm and his women to produce wealth. A boy 
spends; a man produces. Spending indicates an immature valuing of 
immediate gratification. Producing signifies an enduring commit- 
ment to self-control and to the control of others, both crucial in the 
perpetuation of male supremacy. The owning and impregnating of 
a woman in marriage or in some form of concubinage (however 
informal) are seen as mastery of spending without purpose, the first 
clear proof that masculinity is established as an irrefutable fact, 


adult, impervious to the ambivalences of youth still contaminated 
by female eroticism in which the penis has no intrinsic significance* 
A commitment to money as such follows as an obvious and public 
commitment to the display of masculinity as an aggressive and an 
aggrandizing drive. While poor or deprived men struggle for money 
to survive, all men, including poor or deprived men, struggle for 
money because it expresses masculinity, power over and against 
women. Having less money than a woman in one’s field of 
perception is shameful: it means that one has less masculinity than 
she. Other male powers, such as the power of terror (violence) or 
the power of naming (defamation), must be called on to compen- 

Seventh, men have the power of sex. They assert the opposite: 
that this power resides in women, whom they view as synonymous 
with sex. The carnality of women, even when experienced as 
monstrous, is held to be the defining quality of women. Reduced to 
its most explicit and absurd detail by its most sexually explicit 
proponents, the argument is that women have sexual power because 
erection is involuntary; a woman is the presumed cause; therefore, 
the man is helpless, the woman is powerful. The male reacts to a 
stimulation for which he is not responsible; it is his very nature to 
do so; whatever he does he does because of a provocation that 
inheres in the female. Even on this most reductive level — she causes 
penile erection, therefore she is sexually powerful — the argument is 
willfully naive and self-serving. The male, through each and every 
one of his institutions, forces the female to conform to his 
supremely ridiculous definition of her as sexual object. He fetishizes 
her body as a whole and in its parts. He exiles her from every realm 
of expression outside the strictly male-defined sexual or male- 
defined maternal. He forces her to become that thing that causes 
erection, then holds himself helpless and powerless when he is 
aroused by her. His fury when she is not that thing, when she is 
either more or less than that thing, is intense and punishing. 

More coherently defined — that is, defined outside the boundaries 
of male experience — the power of sex manifested in action, attitude, 
culture, and attribute is the exclusive province of the male, his 


domain, inviolate and sacred. Sex, a word potentially so inclusive 
and evocative, is whittled down by the male so that, in fact, it 
means penile intromission. Commonly referred to as “it,” sex is 
defined in action only by what the male does with his penis. 
Fucking — the penis thrusting — is the magical, hidden meaning of 
“it,” the reason for sex, the expansive experience through which the 
male realizes his sexual power. In practice, fucking is an act of 
possession — simultaneously an act of ownership, taking, force; it is 
conquering; it expresses in intimacy power over and against, body 
to body, person to thing. “The sex act” means penile intromission 
followed by penile thrusting, or fucking. The woman is acted on; 
the man acts and through action expresses sexual power, the power 
of masculinity. Fucking requires that the male act on one who has 
less power and this valuation is so deep, so completely implicit in 
the act, that the one who is fucked is stigmatized as feminine during 
the act even when not anatomically female. In the male system, sex 
is the penis, the penis is sexual power, its use in fucking is 

Male sexual power is also expressed through an attitude or 
quality: virility. Defined first as manhood itself, virility in its 
secondary meaning is vigor, dynamism (in the patriarchal diction- 
ary inevitably also called force). The vitality inherent in virility as a 
quality is held to be an exclusive masculine expression of energy, in 
its basic character sexual, in its origin biological, traceable to the 
penis itself. It is, in fact, an expression of energy, strength, 
ambition, and assertion. Defined by men and experienced by 
women as a form of male sexual power, virility is a dimension of 
energy and self-realization forbidden to women. 

Male sexual power is the substance of culture. It resonates 
everywhere. The celebration of rape in story, song, and science is 
the paradigmatic articulation of male sexual power as a cultural 
absolute. The conquering of the woman acted out in fucking, her 
possession, her use as a thing, is the scenario endlessly repeated, 
with or without direct reference to fucking, throughout the culture. 
In fucking, he is enlarged. As Woolf wrote, she is his mirror; by 
diminishing her in his use of her he becomes twice his size. In the 


culture, he is a giant, enlarged by his conquest of her, implied or 
explicit. She remains his mirror and, as Woolf postulated, 

. . mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action.** 4 In 
culture, his sexual power is his theme. In culture, the male uses the 
female to explicate his theme. 

Sexual power is also an attribute of the male, something that 
inheres in him as a taker of what he wants and needs, especially as 
one who uses his penis to take women, but more generally as a taker 
of land, of money. As an attribute, his sexual power illuminates his 
very nature. 

The seventh tenet of male supremacy is that sexual power 
authentically originates in the penis. Masculinity in action, nar- 
rowly in the act of sex as men define it or more w idely in any act of 
taking, is sexual power fulfilling itself, being true to its own nature. 
The male conceit that women have sexual power (cause erections) 
conveniently protects men from responsibility for the consequences 
of their acts, especially their acts of sexual conquest. Most of the 
time, after all, the used bodies do survive. Often they speak or 
scream or cry. Nowadays the uppity things even prosecute and sue. 
Ruthless blame — “you provoked me** — is used to encourage the 
individual and social silence which is the most hospitable environ- 
ment for the continuation of conquest. 

The major theme of pornography as a genre is male power, its 
nature, its magnitude, its use, its meaning. Male power, as 
expressed in and through pornography, is discernible in discrete 
but interwoven, reinforcing strains: the power of self, physical 
power over and against others, the power of terror, the power of 
naming, the power of owning, the power of money, and the power 
of sex. These strains of male power are intrinsic to both the 
substance and production of pornography; and the ways and means 
of pornography are the ways and means of male power. The 
harmony and coherence of hateful values, perceived by men as 
normal and neutral values when applied to women, distinguish 


pornography as message, thing, and experience. The strains of male 
power are embodied in pornography’s form and content, in 
economic control of and distribution of wealth within the industry, 
in the picture or story as thing, in the photographer or writer as 
aggressor, in the critic or intellectual who through naming assigns 
value, in the actual use of models, in the application of the material 
in what is called real life (which women are commanded to regard as 
distinct from fantasy). A saber penetrating a vagina is a weapon; so 
is the camera or pen that renders it; so is the penis for which it 
substitutes (vagina literally means “sheath”). The persons who 
produce the image are also weapons as men deployed in war 
become in their persons weapons. Those who defend or protect the 
image are, in this same sense, weapons. The values in the 
pornographic work are also manifest in everything surrounding the 
work. The valuation of women in pornography is a secondary 
theme in that the degradation of women exists in order to postulate, 
exercise, and celebrate male power. Male power, in degrading 
women, is first concerned with itself, its perpetuation, expansion, 
intensification, and elevation. In her essay on the Marquis de Sade, 
Simone de Beauvoir describes Sade’s sexuality as autistic. Her use 
of the word is figurative, since an autistic child does not require an 
object of violence outside of himself (most autistic children are 
male). Male power expressed in pornography is autistic as de 
Beauvoir uses the word in reference to Sade: it is violent and self- 
obsessed; no perception of another being ever modifies its behavior 
or persuades it to abandon violence as a form of self-pleasuring. 
Male power is the raison d’etre of pornography; the degradation of 
the female is the means of achieving this power. 

The photograph is captioned “BEAVER HUNTERS.” Two white 
men, dressed as hunters, sit in a black Jeep. The Jeep occupies 
almost the whole frame of the picture. The two men carry rifles. 
The rifles extend above the frame of the photograph into the white 
space surrounding it. The men and the Jeep face into the camera. 
Tied onto the hood of the black Jeep is a white woman. She is tied 
with thick rope. She is spread-eagle. Her pubic hair and crotch are 


the dead center of the car hood and the photograph. Her head is 
turned to one side, tied down by rope that is pulled taut across her 
neck, extended to and wrapped several times around her wrists, tied 
around the rearview mirrors of the Jeep, brought back around her 
arms, crisscrossed under her breasts and over her thighs, drawn 
down and wrapped around the bumper of the Jeep, tied around her 
ankles. Between her feet on the car bumper, in orange with black 
print, is a sticker that reads: I brake for Billy Carter. The text under 
the photograph reads: “Western sportsmen report beaver hunting 
was particularly good throughout the Rocky Mountain region 
during the past season. These two hunters easily bagged their limit 
in the high country. They told HUSTLER that they stuffed and 
mounted their trophy as soon as they got her home.” 

The men in the photograph are self-possessed; that is, they 
possess the power of self. This power radiates from the photograph. 
They are armed: first, in the sense that they are fully clothed; 
second, because they carry rifles, which are made more prominent, 
suggesting erection, by extending outside the frame of the photo- 
graph; third, because they are shielded by being inside the vehicle, 
framed by the windshield; fourth, because only the top parts of 
their bodies are shown. The woman is possessed; that is, she has no 
self. A captured animal, she is naked, bound, exposed on the hood 
of the car outdoors, her features not distinguishable because of the 
way her head is twisted and tied down. The men sit, supremely still 
and confident, displaying the captured prey for the camera. The 
stillness of the woman is like the stillness of death, underlined by 
the evocation of taxidermy in the caption. He is, he takes; she is 
not, she is taken. 

The photograph celebrates the physical power of men over 
women. They are hunters, use guns. They have captured and 
bound a woman. They will stuff and mount her. She is a trophy. 
While one could argue that the victory of two armed men over a 
woman is no evidence of physical superiority, the argument is 
impossible as one experiences (or remembers) the photograph. The 
superior strength of men is irrefutably established by the fact of the 
photograph and the knowledge that one brings to it: that it 


expresses an authentic and commonplace relationship of the male 
strong to the female weak, wherein the hunt — the targeting, 
tracking down, pursuing, the chase, the overpowering of, the 
immobilizing of, even the wounding of — is common practice, 
whether called sexual pursuit, seduction, or romance. The photo- 
graph exists in an immediate context that supports the assertion of 
this physical power; and in the society that is the larger context, 
there is no viable and meaningful reality to contradict the physical 
power of male over female expressed in the photograph. 

In the photograph, the power of terror is basic. The men are 
hunters with guns. Their prey is women. They have caught a 
woman and tied her onto the hood of a car. The terror is implicit in 
the content of the photograph, but beyond that the photograph 
strikes the female viewer dumb with fear. One perceives that the 
bound woman must be in pain. The very power to make the 
photograph (to use the model, to tie her in that way) and the fact of 
the photograph (the fact that someone did use the model, did tie her 
in that way, that the photograph is published in a magazine and 
seen by millions of men who buy it specifically to see such 
photographs) evoke fear in the female observer unless she entirely 
dissociates herself from the photograph: refuses to believe or 
understand that real persons posed for it, refuses to see the bound 
person as a woman like herself. Terror is finally the content of the 
photograph, and it is also its effect on the female observer. That 
men have the power and desire to make, publish, and profit from 
the photograph engenders fear. That millions more men enjoy the 
photograph makes the fear palpable. That men who in general 
champion civil rights defend the photograph without experiencing 
it as an assault on women intensifies the fear, because if the horror 
of the photograph does not resonate with these men, that horror is 
not validated as horror in male culture, and women are left without 
apparent recourse. Rimbaud's devastating verse comes to mind: 
“One evening I seated Beauty on my knees. And I found her bitter. 
And I cursed her. / 1 armed myself against justice.” 5 

The threat in the language accompanying the photograph is also 
fierce and frightening. She is an animal, think of deer fleeing the 


hunter, think of seals clubbed to death, think of species nearly 
extinct. The men will stuff and mount her as a trophy: think of 
killing displayed proudly as triumph. 

Here is the power of naming. Here she is named beaver. In the 
naming she is diminished to the point of annihilation; her humanity 
is canceled out. Instead of turning to the American Civil Liberties 
Union for help, she should perhaps turn to a group that tries to 
prevent cruelty to animals — beaver, bird, chick, bitch, dog, pussy, 
and so forth. The words that transform her into an animal have 
permanence: the male has done the naming. The power of naming 
includes the freedom to joke. The hunters will brake for Billy 
Carter. The ridicule is not deadly; they will let him live. The real 
target of the ridicule is the fool who brakes for animals, here 
equated with women. The language on the bumper sticker suggests 
the idea of the car in motion, which would otherwise be lacking. 
The car becomes a weapon, a source of death, its actual character as 
males use it. One is reminded of the animal run over on the road, a 
haunting image of blood and death. One visualizes the car, with the 
woman tied onto its hood, in motion crashing into something or 

Owning is expressed in every aspect of the photograph. These 
hunters are sportsmen, wealth suggested in hunting as a leisure- 
time pursuit of pleasure. They are equipped and outfitted. Their 
car shines. They have weapons: guns, a car. They have a woman, 
bound and powerless, to do with as they like. They will stuff and 
mount her. Their possession of her extends over time, even into 
(her) death. She is owned as a thing, a trophy, or as something 
dead, a dead bird, a dead deer; she is dead beaver. The camera and 
the photographer behind it also own the woman. The camera uses 
and keeps her. The photographer uses her and keeps the image of 
her. The publisher of the photograph can also claim her as a trophy. 
He has already mounted her and put her on display. Hunting as a 
sport suggests that these hunters have hunted before and will hunt 
again, that each captured woman will be used and owned, stuffed 
and mounted, that this right to own inheres in man's relationship to 


nature, that this right to own is so natural and basic that it can be 
taken entirely for granted, that is, expressed as play or sport. 

Wealth is implicit in owning. The woman is likened to food (a 
dead animal), the hunter’s most immediate form of wealth. As a 
trophy, she is wealth displayed. She is a commodity, part of the 
measure of male wealth. Man as hunter owns the earth, the things 
of it, its natural resources. She is part of the wildlife to be 
plundered for profit and pleasure, collected, used. That they 
“bagged their limit,” then used what they had caught, is congruent 
with the idea of economy as a sign of mature masculinity. 

The fact of the photograph signifies the wealth of men as a class. 
One class simply does not so use another class unless that usage is 
maintained in the distribution of wealth. The female model’s job is 
the job of one who is economically imperiled, a sign of economic 
degradation. The relationship of the men to the woman in the 
photograph is not fantasy; it is symbol, meaningful because it is 
rooted in reality. The photograph shows a relationship of rich to 
poor that is actual in the larger society. The fact of the photograph 
in relation to its context — an industry that generates wealth by 
producing images of women abjectly used, a society in which 
women cannot adequately earn money because women are valued 
precisely as the woman in the photograph is valued — both proves 
and perpetuates the real connection between masculinity and 
wealth. The sexual-economic significance of the photograph is so 
simple that it is easily overlooked: the photograph could not exist as 
a type of photograph that produces wealth without the wealth of 
men to produce and consume it. 

Sex as power is the most explicit meaning of the photograph. 
The power of sex unambiguously resides in the male, though 
the characterization of the female as a wild animal suggests 
that the sexuality of the untamed female is dangerous to men. But 
the triumph of the hunters is the nearly universal triumph of men 
over women, a triumph ultimately expressed in the stuffing and 
mounting. The hunters are figures of virility. Their penises are 
hidden but their guns are emphasized. The car, beloved ally of men 


in the larger culture, also indicates virility, especially when a 
woman is tied to it naked instead of draped over it wearing an 
evening gown. The pornographic image explicates the advertising 
image, and the advertising image echoes the pornographic image. 

The power of sex is ultimately defined as the power of conquest. 
They hunted her down, captured, tied, stuffed, and mounted her. 
The excitement is precisely in the nonconsensual character of the 
event. The hunt, the ropes, the guns, show that anything done to 
her was or will be done against her will. Here again, the valuation 
of conquest as being natural — of nature, of man in nature, of 
natural man — is implicit in the visual and linguistic imagery. 

The power of sex, in male terms, is also funereal. Death 
permeates it. The male erotic trinity — sex, violence, and death — 
reigns supreme. She will be or is dead. They did or will kill her. 
Everything that they do to or with her is violence. Especially 
evocative is the phrase “stuffed and mounted her,” suggesting as it 
does both sexual violation and embalming. 

Whip Chick , a book, has as its central conceit that power defined as 
cruelty resides in the woman, especially the feminist woman. 
Called variously “amazon” and “liberated woman,” she says “You 
male chauvinist pig” as she grinds her spiked heels into his balls. 
She is as dangerous as anyone can be, her malice directed at the 
genitals of the male, which she threatens to tear off with her bare 
hands. She is a fantasy, as opposed to a symbol: the power 
attributed to her nowhere resonates in the real world. 

In Whip Chick , Scott Healy, who has a big cock and is a 
superstud, fucks Mrs. Alice Waverly in a motel. She thanks him. 
Alice and Scott are seen at the motel by Cora Hertzell, a professor 
at a local college. Alice is outraged that Cora, a teacher, is at the 
motel. She determines to rid the town of Cora. Scott’s nephew 
Chris has a crush on Cora, his teacher. He thinks about how she 
moves like a stripper, then he masturbates. He thinks he is too old 
to masturbate but his image in a mirror seems to tell him that he 
cannot help it. Scott comes home and makes a TV dinner. Sandra 
Waverly, Alice’s daughter, telephones for Chris. Sandra invites 

POWER' 3 1 

Chris to do what he will to her. Chris says he is busy. Scott says: 
“The little faggot.” Scott talks Chris into seeing Sandra. Sandra 
seduces Chris, who has a big cock. He goes home and telephones 
her. She wants him to come back. He says that he will only return 
if he is her master, if she will do anything he says: “His dick was 
beginning to grow now. He felt the urge to ram it down her 
throat.” He orders her to put the telephone receiver up her cunt and 
use it to masturbate while she waits for him. Then he goes to her 
house to check up on her. He rips her clothes and slaps her. He 
keeps hitting her. She screams. Then she says: “Ooh master. Hurt 
me. Punish me.” She also says: “1 want my man to punish me.” She 
calls him Daddy. William, Sandra’s boyfriend, finds a letter Chris 
has written to Cora that expresses adoration. Sandra suggests that 
Chris intercept William with the letter before he can show it to 
Cora. Chris is grateful. Sandra ties his hands, then his balls, then 
emerges in black stockings with a whip and beats him. In a 
restaurant, Sandra’s parents, Alice and Pete Waverly, are having 
dinner. Alice wants Cora removed from teaching. Cora is also in the 
restaurant. A bum brags about his masculinity. Cora picks him up. 
Alice makes Pete follow Cora and the bum to get evidence against 
Cora. Scon goes to speak with Alice, they argue about Cora, then 
Scott begins fingering Alice under the table and Alice begins 
fingering Scott, then they get into a car and start fucking. Cora 
jacks off the bum in the car. Cora takes him to a motel. Cora is 
characterized as “the amazon.” She holds him by the cock and 
makes him walk around the room following her. He cannot get 
loose. She commands him to eat her. She says: “This is ail a man is 
good for.” She allows him to fuck her but he fails so she starts 
crushing his balls until he becomes “happily unconscious.” Leaving 
the motel Cora sees Pete Waverly. She seduces him. He has a huge 
cock. They go back to her motel room. The bum is taking a shower. 
Pete fucks Cora. She has the bum suck her ass, then her cunt while 
Pete fucks her in the ass. After all have come, Cora orders the bum 
to clean Pete’s genitals. Pete refuses to allow it, Cora senses 
repression and fear of an ultimate truth, Pete goes to take a shower, 
Cora sends the bum in after him, sounds of lust and pleasure 


eventually come from the shower. The next day, Chris fucks and is 
generally mauled by Sandra on campus, then another liberated 
woman named Carol joins in. Cora gets Chris’s letter. She seduces 
him and insists that he ejaculate in her vagina: “I want those seeds 
planted in me.” Carol follows Chris home and seduces him. Carol, 
liberated woman that she is, tries to make Chris lose his erection: 
u Her tone shifted to the pedantic style of the liberated woman.” He 
fucks her on the kitchen table and sticks a glass saltshaker up her 
ass. The kitchen table collapses as they come. Scott has seen the 
whole thing. He says to Chris: ‘That’s the best way to catch one of 
these liberated birds. You have to salt their tails.” Scott is home 
alone. Sandra comes looking for Chris. Chris is at Cora’s. Sandra 
throws her arms around Scott and seduces him. She keeps calling 
him “motherfucker,” since she knows that he has fucked her 
mother. Chris is with Cora. She makes him undress. She sees the 
whip marks made by Sandra. These marks reveal that he is not the 
young lion she had thought so she keeps kicking him in the balls. 
She becomes his master. Meanwhile as Scott and Sandra are 
fucking, Sandra’s mother telephones them. Everyone is to converge 
at Cora’s house, even as Scott is using his “mammoth probing 
pole!” Cora asks Chris: “Are you a man?” His answer: “No!” He is 
“beside himself with lust and pain, and joy.” Cora asks: “And are 
you mommy’s little boy?” He answers: “Oh yes! Fuck me mommy! 
Tear me up!!” In the midst of all this, Cora, speaking to Chris, calls 
Scott a “loathsome chauvinist.” Cora keeps battering Chris’s penis 
with her leg. Cora sticks her fingers in his ear, her fist down his 
throat, while saying: “I know what you’re thinking and you are 
right! Every hole, every nook and cranny. You are going to be 
fucked for your disobedience!” She strangles his balls in her fist and 
keeps slapping him across the face. She says: “Mommy’s going to 
punish you now.” She sticks a fountain pen up his ass, he falls to 
the floor, she pushes the pen up his rectum with her foot, then she 
pushes her foot up his ass. She says that she wants to see his uncle. 
The Waverlys arrive at Cora’s house. They say they are looking for 
Sandra. Cora begins undressing. Alice says she put a drug in the 
water reservoir to cause weird behavior and expose Cora for what 


she is. Alice tells Cora she has always loved her. Cora gets her dildo 
and fucks Alice. Alice is afraid that the dildo is too big, then wants 
it in her ass. Pete watches. Sandra and Scott enter. Cora rises and 
unfastens the dildo. Sandra goes looking for Chris. Alice and Pete 
quarrel. Alice says she did not put a drug in the water reservoir. 
She says that Pete raped her on their wedding night and has been 
raping her for years, that all he ever thinks about is sex. Alice 
says: “You big chauvinist pig!” Then she straps on the dildo and 
fucks him in the ass. Pete and Alice agree that now their marriage 
is as it should be. Scott and Cora, her hand gently on his cock, no 
threat or possibility of threat in the gesture, only the promise of 
service, enter the room and watch. They announce that they are 
going to be married. Chris’s screams of lust and pain, interwoven 
with cries of “Sandra, oh Sandra, please Sandra,” fill the room. 

In Whip Chick , male power is characterized as precarious at best, 
easily transformed into its opposite by women who are more 
ambitious in their masculinity than the anatomical males. Scott is 
the exception. His masculinity is so assured, so free of homosexual 
taint, so thoroughly uncontaminated by any longing for the mother, 
that he wins Cora’s heart. Her quest has been for a real man, the 
ultimate fucker whom she cannot dominate. Pete’s final fate — to be 
fucked by his wife in the ass with a dildo until death do them part — 
is foreshadowed by the homosexual pleasure he experienced with 
the bum Cora set upon him in the motel. Similarly, Chris’s fate is 
also foreshadowed by Scott’s description of him as “the little 

Whip Chick was supposedly written by a woman, a conceit 
common enough in the kind of pornography that is written fast and 
sold to a publisher for a flat fee. The easy money for the author is in 
turning out the largest possible number of books in the shortest 
possible time. All the books produced by a single author may be 
published under different names. In general, arguments about the 
real gender of authors of pornography— from Whip Chick to Story of 
0 — are meaningless, since the goal is to please the male consumer 
whose tastes are entirely predictable, existing as they do within the 


limited framework of male sexual values and ideas. Anais Nin tried 
to conform to the rules of the pornography-for-fast-money game, 
but dripped sensibility helplessly and foolishly. Most writers of 
pornography are male. The female name on the cover of the book is 
part of the package, an element of the fiction. It confirms men in 
their fantasy that the eroticism of the female exists within the 
bounds of male sexual imperatives. 

How is male power served by Whip Chick? One would think that 
most of the sexual action in Whip Chick would be abhorrent to men 
who presumably have everything to lose and nothing to gain by the 
portrayal of a woman driving her spiked heel into a man’s balls as 
being pleasurable for both male and female. But the resources of 
male power need not be thoroughly obvious to be effective. Whip 
Chick is not a mistake. 

First of all. Whip Chick is not believable. The prose, the story, the 
action, the dialogue, all are absurd and ridiculous. The portrayal of 
men as sexual victims is distinctly unreal, ludicrous in part because 
it scarcely has an analogue in the real world. The woman tied on the 
hood of the car had a symbolic reality: that valuation of women is 
commonplace. Whip Chick is male fantasy, not rooted in reality, not 
rooted in the distribution of power as a social fact. 

Second, the men in Whip Chick are punished by women for 
failures of masculinity: for being faggots or boys who want 
Mommy. Any loss of control by men over women will result in the 
loss of everything, all the kinds of male power that men should and 
must have. The dangerous female, now called an amazon or 
liberated woman, is ever present, ready to take over if the male lets 
up in his cruelty at all. Should the purity of his fuck — its absolute 
masculine integrity — be less than perfect, the bitch underneath will 
become castrator. A moment of immaturity, indecision, or grati- 
tude (as when Chris thanks Sandra for suggesting that he intercept 
his letter to Cora before it reaches her) will mean total and absolute 
humiliation, not to mention penile mutilation. 

Third, all the sexual action takes place in the realm of male- 
defined sexuality. Cruelty is the essence of sexual action; fucking is 
the most significant masculine act; the penis is the source and 


symbol of real manhood; punishment is the prerogative of the man 
unless he loses that prerogative by failing, in which case the female, 
as the most masculine, usurps the prerogative; force is integral to 
fucking; and dominance is the ultimate purpose of sexual behavior. 
These are the values embodied in Whip Chick . This is the house that 
Jack built. 

Fourth, Whip Chick warns specifically that the feminist wants to 
castrate the male, use his sexuality as her own against him. It warns 
that if men do not keep male power sacrosanct, the dangerous, 
uppity women will take it from them and use it against them. It 
postulates that women will do to men what men have done to 
women. This presentation of women as vicious castrators if given 
the chance suggests that men’s only protection is an unambiguous 
commitment on the part of men to sexual conquest of women. 

Fifth, if men do experience guilt over what they do to women, 
the specter of women punishing them in ways they can understand, 
given their limited frame of reference, might provide some release 
from guilt with no loss of self-esteem (since the book is ludicrous in 
its style and since a man, Scott, triumphs over the amazon in the 

Sixth, Whip Chick postulates that all any woman really wants — 
however shrewish or dangerous she is — is a man who can fuck or 
dominate her. Any bitch can be tamed by a man who is manly 

The ultimate impact of Whip Chick is to clarify the nature of male 
power and demonstrate how to hold onto it. In fantasy, the male 
can experiment with the consequences as he imagines them of loss 
of power over women. He can expect that what he has done to 
women will be done to him. He can view his own devastation in his 
imagination, experience it as a self-induced, self-contained, mastur- 
batory sexual reality and, when the book is closed, as a result of 
having read it, be armed more thoroughly against any vulnerability 
that might imperil him. He will be convinced that male power can 
only be maintained by an absolutely cruel and ruthless subjugation 
of women. And not coincidentally, “liberated women,” “amazons,” 
will be the most dangerous women, most in need of subjugation, 


the greatest and best test of masculinity in action. Whip Chick targets 
feminists as the subgroup of women most threatening to male 
power, most in need of abusive, humiliating sexual treatment. Whip 
Chick — spiked heel in the groin notwithstanding — is a cunning and 
effective argument for male dominance. 

I Love a Laddie , a book, consists of three short vignettes and a 
preface by a man whose name is followed by “M.A.,” which one 
can only presume means Master of Arts. This person’s introduction 
warns that “the constant practice of sexually perverse acts may very 
well lead to the point where an undesirable practice may become 
completely habitual in one [sic] body and mind. Awareness of the 
wide extent of sexual perversion and its pitfalls should be helpful in 
stopping these wrges [sic] . . .” Informed that one is being educated 
against vice, one is prepared to begin enjoying it. 

In the first vignette, Dave the sailor is going on leave to London 
to have a ball. “Cunt desires” are raging. He has half a hard-on. 
When he leaves the train, all the porters ignore him because he is 
big and strong, except for one effeminate porter whose offer to 
carry Dave’s bag had “a sort of carressing [sic] solicitude ...” It 
was “like an invitation from a girl to slip into her pussy!” Dave has 
half a hard-on. A cabbie, assuming that Dave’s inclinations are the 
same as the porter’s, takes him to a hotel where the manager has a 
voice like the porter’s. The manager hands him a pen with a 
caressing motion. Dave realizes that his leave will be a “feast of 
‘navy-cake’” and claims that “one hole [is] as good as another!” Dave 
undresses and admires himself and his hard prick in the mirror. 
Dave takes a bath. The carpet in his room reminds him of a man he 
slept with in India. His prick hardens and this time swells to “a 
deep, shiny red!” Dave masturbates on the carpet. Dave puts on his 
only suit. The manager offers to iron it. Dave takes off his only 
suit. Garry, the manager, makes subtle advances. Dave determines 
to “give him all the cock he could cope with” but only when Garry 
makes the first move. Garry brings in liquor and glasses. They 
undress. Soon “Dave’s finger was throughly [sic] raping [Garry’s] 
asshole.” Dave fucks Garry who is called his victim. Garry comes, 


but remains “complacent to any whim of his master.’ 1 Dave moves 
his victim to the carpet where he pinions him spread-eagle. Garry 
“shuddered and quiverred [sic] under the frantic assult [sic] on his 
prone body.” Dave goes cruising in bars. He is excited by women 
in miniskirts. A middle-aged man tries to pick him up. He walks 
out. Someone follows him, a young hustler; Dave is insulted. Dave 
returns to the hotel, where the key to Garry’s room, number 69, 
and a jar of Vaseline await him. Garry is dressed in a negligee. 
They bathe together, then go to Garry’s seven-by-seven bed, which 
is dressed in satin. Dave fucks Garry. Garry sucks Dave. Next 
morning, Dave goes to a tailor recommended by Garry. Then he 
goes to a bar where he meets Harry, the middle-aged man who tried 
to pick him up the previous night. They go to a strip place (female 
strippers). Dave gets a hard-on. Harry jerks him off. Dave returns 
to the hotel. Garry fucks Dave. Dave comes. Garry keeps fucking. 
Dave discovers new dimensions of himself as “the intensity of the 
thrusts up into his rectum, and their violence was [sic] increasing 
every second and with every forwards [sic] drive of the other man’s 
hip [sic] and loins!” They go to Garry’s room. They look at each 
other. Dave sucks Garry’s cock. Garry places Dave on his back 
“like a girl” and fucks him. Dave returns to his own room, his 
rectum sore, and takes a bath. He goes back to the bars, ends up in 
a homosexual bar, finds a young innocent from out of town, goes to 
the young innocent’s room. Dave tells the boy about all kinds of 
girls and the “bizar e[sic] things that he had seen them do.” Innocent 
boy gets a hard-on. They jerk each other off, then Dave fucks him, 
despite his cries of pain, which change to cries of lust. Dave returns 
to the hotel and sleeps. Garry brings breakfast. Dave tells him 
about having initiated a virgin the previous night. Garry fucks 
Dave. Dave goes to the tailor, then to a bar. A stranger offers to 
take him to a homosexual club. The hustler who had tried to pick 
him up previously is there. He offers Dave money to fuck him in 
front of three lesbians looking for kicks. Dave accepts. Dave fucks 
the young man. When he looks up, he is surrounded by “women 
and grils [sic] with their clothes hiked up and panties down around 
their nylon clad knees, with fingers all busily fingerfucking away at 


another female’s cunt.” The hustler is instructed by the lesbians to 
let the sperm from his ass trickle into a glass dish so they can inspect 
it. The lesbians “were tearing off each others [sic] panties to turn 
and clasp heads diving in between parted thighs for a female 4 69’!” 
Dave gets paid the promised amount plus a bonus. Finis. 

In the second vignette, Paul is over forty and wealthy. He uses 
his money to pursue his favorite pleasure, assfucking young men. 
He dislikes women and avoids male hustlers. He uses his wealth to 
encourage younger boys to take up his own preferences. Paul waits 
for Bob, a new boy. Bob arrives. Bob tells Paul how he and a 
younger boy, Robin, had found photographs of “girls in nothing 
buth [sic] their undies and stockings” and had hidden to “oggle Isic]” 
the photographs and, as a result, had jerked each other off. Paul 
shows Bob both heterosexual and homosexual pornography. Paul 
sucks off Bob. Bob sucks off Paul. Bob looks at more pornography, 
especially of a male assfucking a woman and of a man assfucking a 
man. Bob says: “Ooooh! I never realized what thrills there were, 
Paul! Can we try that too!” Paul invites Bob to spend school 
vacation on his boat. Bob suggests inviting Robin too. Bob asks to 
try it now “like they were in those pictures.” Bob’s response to 
being fucked is: “Ahh! It huts [sic] a bit! But it’s lovely! Go on! Ram 
it up me! Split me! Fuck me!” Bob is referred to as Paul’s victim, 
and the act is described as “just as he had seen it in the picture — 
with the girl and the boy!” After Bob leaves, Paul contemplates the 
pleasure in having two sex slaves. He decides to photograph it. Bob 
and Robin arrive at Paul’s house. Paul enters the room as Bob and 
Robin are making love. Paul takes a photograph. They go to the 
boat. Bob shows Robin the pornographic photographs. When 
Robin sees the assfucking, he sucks Bob’s cock. Paul, from a 
skylight above, takes photographs. Paul calls to Bob, instructs him 
to do sixty-nine. Paul masturbates as he watches Bob and Robin 
and also steers the boat. All come. Bob steers the boat. Paul, Robin, 
and Bob have tea. They arrive at an island. The boys cook dinner. 
They are naked with hard-ons. Paul takes photographs. All eat 
nude. Paul fucks Bob and sucks Robin’s cock, puts his finger up 
Robin’s ass. Robin looks at the photographs again. Bob looks at the 


photographs again. Paul takes a photograph. They go to sleep. Paul 
makes breakfast. Bob does the dishes. Paul pretends that he is going 
to spank Robin, but instead greases his ass. Paul fucks Robin as Bob 
watches. Paul continues fucking Robin as Bob fucks Paul. Robin 
and Bob mutually jerk off. Paul takes a photograph. They visit the 
island. The two boys seduce Paul. Paul falls asleep. As a prank, the 
boys take his clothes. He swims back to the boat. How will he 
wreak vengeance? He orders the boys to undress, whips them, 
forces them to swim so that salt gets into the whip cuts. Bob fucks 
Robin. Paul takes a photograph. Robin sucks off Paul. The next 
day, two girls arrive in a boat. The males move away. The girls lie 
naked on the beach. Paul concludes that they think the island is 
deserted. From their posture, it is obvious that they have been 
“indulging in some form of fucking.” Paul develops his photo- 
graphs. He joins the boys on the deck. The three watch the women 
in “a Lesbian ‘69.’” As they watch the women, Paul jerks off both 
boys. They agree when Paul says: “I still think that having cocks to 
play with, we have the advantage when it comes to fucking!” Paul 
fucks Bob and Robin. Robin is fucked “as a girl might be.” Paul 
goes for a walk. He threatens to whip the boys if there is a drop of 
sperm on them when he returns. He watches the lesbians. Their 
asses getting tan from the sun reminds him that he wants to tan the 
asses of “these females that had invaded his masculine kingdom!” 
He asks them what they are doing, takes off his leather belt and 
beats them. He returns to the boat. Bob is sucking Robin. Paul 
takes a photograph. The males leave the island. They spot the boat 
of the lesbians. Paul is gratified that both are standing, too sore he 
assumes to sit, which leads the males to speculate on “female 
assholes to be fucked” during the rest of their holiday. Finis. 

In the third vignette, it is Saturday and Jules Auger is at the helm 
of his boat. Narrator and Jules return to their bedroom, where 
Narrator fucks Jules. They sleep. Narrator showers. Storm joins 
him in the shower and sucks his cock. Narrator sucks Storm’s cock. 
Narrator goes to Gordon for the night, then crawls into bed with 
Jules. On Sunday, everything is the same, except that Patrick joins 
Narrator in the shower. On Monday, they dock and go to the 


studio. Narrator wonders whether he will ever be able to leave the 
homosexual life, “be normal with a woman and marry and have 
children.” Narrator resolves to stay homosexual only long enough 
to become a successful actor. Narrator thinks about Mary. He can’t 
believe that she is a lesbian. She is “too normal for that.” He wants 
to fuck her. He has to escape from Jules Auger to make love to 
Mary Moray. Jules calls Narrator into the projection room. 
Narrator’s name is Rod. Gordon, Patrick, and Storm are there. 
Jules fondles Rod’s genitals. Rod is very good in the rushes, very 
manly. He only has to pretend to be homosexual a few more years 
to get to the top. Rod thinks of Mary as he agrees to have a sex 
binge with the boys. In a cafeteria Rod glimpses Mary and gets hot. 
The men go to Jules’s home in Palm Springs. They all disrobe on 
the way to the pool, this time including “the young colored chauffer 
[sic]” who is “hotter than any woman you ever had and he’s got 
twice as much as most men.” The chauffeur, George, makes love to 
Rod. Rod makes love to George. Rod is on fire. They do sixty-nine. 
George declares his love. Rod says that George is more thrilling 
than the “shapely, desirable young cunts [that] had thrilled my 
prick in the past.” Gordon sucks Storm. Jules and Patrick rest. 
George leaves. Gordon fucks Storm. Rod sleeps. Jules wakes Rod 
to take him to bed. Rod fucks Jules. Rod showers. Rod is nauseated 
by homosexual love. Rod moves to a penthouse paid for by Jules. 
He wants Mary Moray’s twat. Gordon warns Rod not to eye Mary. 
If Jules finds out that any of his lovers fuck a woman, they are 
blackballed as actors. Rod agrees to do what Jules wants. Then he 
accidentally runs into Mary. She suggests they spend the weekend 
together. They go to his place. She says: “Sometimes I think all 
man [sic] are a little bit queer.” She says: “I want you to be my 
fucker. And I don’t let many men have me that way.” He carries 
her to the bedroom just as Jules enters the apartment. Jules says he 
has bought and paid for Rod. Mary cries. Jules fires Mary. Mary 
stumbles out the door in tears. Rod undresses. He wants to subject 
Jules to pain like he’s never known. Rod beats Jules with a leather 
belt. Rod sucks his cock. Rod fucks him as painfully as he can: 
“Jules was just like any other bitch I’d fucked in the ass in my 


time. ... I was the male stud and Jules was my woman.” Rod 
thinks of Mary. Rod thinks he has killed Jules. Jules comes to, 
babbling that he is in heaven. Jules is in love with Rod. Rod says: 
“You’re my femme aren’t you baby? You’ll trot over and ttopp [sic] 
for me anytime I whistle, won’t you?” Rod tells Jules he is going to 
fuck Mary. Jules says he will have her killed. Mary disappears. Rod 
has to find her to overcome “the stigma of being an active 
homosexual.” Rod is invited to a party on Jules’s boat. The men 
explain that Jules has a new boy, Darien. Rod announces that he 
will not go to the party. Jules telephones, they argue, Jules claims 
that the new boy means nothing, says he loves Rod. Rod says that 
he wants to fuck a woman in Jules’s presence. Jules says that he will 
have any woman killed whom Rod fucks. Rod finds out where 
Mary is through her heterosexual friend, Larry. Larry stays in 
Rod’s apartment. Rod goes to find Mary. Some men, hired by Jules 
to kidnap Rod and take him to Jules’s party, kidnap Larry instead. 
Rod thinks this is funny as he sees the men coming and learns their 
purpose. Rod finds Mary. They go to a motel. Mary confesses to 
lesbian experiences. He sucks her. She sucks him. They go to fuck, 
but he is soft, limp. Mary does everything she can to arouse him, 
but nothing works. Then he thinks of Jules and goes mad with 
desire. He imagines that she is Jules as she sucks his cock. He forces 
her to swallow the sperm. She gags and curses. They drive home in 
silence. She apologizes to him. He wants to see her again. She is 
grateful. They agree to meet in one week. Rod returns to his 
penthouse, but hears Jules and friends inside so goes elsewhere. He 
goes to Andy and George the chauffeur. They undress. Andy fucks 
Rod. Rod sucks George. Andy sucks Rod. For Rod, they are better 
than any woman. Jules thinks Rod was with a woman. Rod is 
ostracized at work. He lets it be known that he was with two men to 
appease Jules. Rod goes home. Larry is there with an erection. 
Larry, the heterosexual, says that Jules and his cohorts gang-raped 
him. After two days he started to like it. He discovered that he had 
always been queer. He beats up Rod for setting him up. He keeps 
hitting him. He beats him with a belt. Rod knows Larry wants him. 
He wants Larry. Rod sucks Larry’s cock. Rod loves Larry. They 


sleep. Rod wakes to find Larry assfucking him. They shower. They 
blackmail Jules with threats of kidnapping charges and announce 
that they are a team. On the way out of Jules’s office, Rod pinches 
the nipples of the secretary. She screams. Rod and Larry howl with 
laughter. Larry was “the aggressor, the male member of our 
union.” Rod was “proud to be his femme.” At a cast party, Mary 
enters. Rod and Mary take a walk to his trailer. Mary undresses. He 
wants her. She wants him. But again, he is soft, limp. He falls 
asleep. Suddenly Larry and Mary are making love. Larry says he 
likes women after all. Mary says that she made Larry a man again 
and is sorry she had not been able to help Rod. Larry and Mary 
announce they will marry. Rod feels nothing for either of them. He 
is already thinking of “a young Negro lad . . . He wanted to fuck 
me. That was all that mattered.” Rod admits “the truth.” He is 
homosexual. He “could only be happy loving men and being loved 
by them. Who could ask for more?” Finis. 

Throughout / Love a Laddie , the literal expression of male power 
is in the intense, repeated use of the penis, which here resembles 
the mythical Hydra. The penis is central, whatever the act or 
environment. Degree of hardness and frequency of use signify 
penile virility, nearly unlimited in the sexual scenarios described. 
The men in themselves or relative to each other are vehicles for the 
penis. The penis is the central character in each story. The 
emphasis is not so much on who does what to whom as it is on the 
perpetual motion of the penis, its efficacy in producing pleasure for 
its proud carrier and receiver. In the second vignette, Paul, the 
wealthy middle-aged man with the two boys, whose penile virility 
is established beyond doubt, also uses a camera as if it were a penis. 
The camera becomes part of the sexual action. The camera is not a 
substitute for the penis; rather, it is as if he had two. He chooses 
which penis to use. Taking a photograph becomes a form of sexual 
action in itself, equal in significance to fucking or cocksucking, 
more mature in that in producing a collection of photographs, it 
produces wealth. 

The penis causes pain, but the pain enhances the pleasure. It is as 
if the ability of the penis to cause pain were an intrinsic quality of 


the penis, not a use to which the penis is put. The pain also 
authenticates the power of the penis — its size, the force behind it. 
As a result, fucking is inherently sadistic because it is necessarily 
both pain and pleasure; and when penile pain is supplemented by 
purposeful cruelty, it occasions the highest sexual ecstasy, emo- 
tional love, or both. The pain is experienced as a commitment on 
the part of the one fucking to the one being fucked. The degree of 
pain is equivalent to the degree of love coming from the lover to the 
beloved of the moment. But in no sense is the beloved annihilated. 
His virility continues to animate his own behavior, either in relation 
to others or in the sphere of social power. Even Rod’s commitment 
to be Larry’s “femme” is articulated as an act of will on his part. 
This will is distinctly masculine. Rod, who is, after all, named Rod, 
continues to embody on the screen manly virility, and his social 
power in his career increases. His recognition of his homosex- 
uality — characterized by his thoughts about the future lover who 
wants to fuck him — does not place homosexuality per se in the area 
of the feminine, despite his endless ruminations on becoming a real 
man by fucking Mary and his repeated failures to do so (she is, after 
all, named Mary). His aggressive pursuit of sex retains its masculine 
character, and his virility — the energy of his penis — is never 
questionable. What he accomplishes in his recognition of himself as 
homosexual is to discard the female altogether, to change his frame 
of reference so that females no longer figure in at all. Mary’s claim 
to have made Larry a man again is transparently ridiculous, since 
the heterosexual Larry (before he was gang-raped) was markedly 
(even in this context) dull and stupid. His virility was expressed 
vividly only in his sexual relationship to Rod. In fact, within the 
context of the vignette, Larry’s alliance with Mary unmans him, 
since sex with a woman is shown to be rather pale and silly: less 
cock is involved in it. Mary’s lesbianism contributes to the 
impression that Larry has been caught by someone who will make 
him less masculine, take him away from the penis, which is 
manhood. Moray, her last name, also names numerous kinds of 
savage, voracious eels: the vagina dentata castrates, as does the 


Lesbians are in each vignette. In the first, Dave fucks the hustler 
for pay to amuse a group of grotesque lesbians. In the second, Paul 
beats the two lesbians who invade his masculine territory; and it is 
on sighting their boat at the end that he and the boys begin to 
contemplate fucking “female assholes.” In the third, Mary is first 
called a lesbian by Larry, in his first heterosexual incarnation, 
because she would not allow him to fuck her in a past encounter. 
She admits her lesbian experiences to Rod and also tells him that 
she does not often allow a man to fuck her. Throughout, claims are 
made, explicitly and by inference, for the superiority of male-male 
sex, and it is no exaggeration to say that a particular hatred of 
lesbians is very notable in all three vignettes. Lesbians are 
characterized as manipulators and controllers of men, invaders of 
male domain, or dangerous adversaries who can take a man from a 
man if so disposed. 

Women in general are sources of sexual arousal within the 
vignettes and, apparently, for the reader as well. Within the 
vignettes, the heterosexual use of women is invoked to seduce boys; 
the heterosexual presence of women (women turned out to please 
men) is titillating; the epithets used to name women are sexual in 
nature, insulting, degrading, violent, utterly contemptuous. Garry, 
the manager of the hotel, wears a negligee, but this does not make 
him feminine — his penile strength is endlessly celebrated; rather, 
the negligee evokes the feminine in the mind of the reader. This 
evocation of the feminine is constantly exploited to emphasize by 
contrast the extreme masculinity of the men who worship cock. 
None of the men is really portrayed as feminine, despite occasional 
disdainful references to mannerisms or descriptions of a male being 
fucked “like a girl.” Without the presence of the female, masculinity 
cannot be realized, even among men who exclusively want each 
other; so the female is conjured up, not just to haunt or threaten, 
but to confirm the real superiority of the male in the mind of the 
reader. In an interview in the Gay Community News , gay activist and 
writer Allen Young described and interpreted a photograph that 
has, as part of its composition, this same sort of heterosexual 


For example, [in gay male pornography] I’ve seen pictures of a 
guy jacking off to an issue of Playboy; in other words, a guy is 
looking at a naked woman and jacking off and I as a gay man am 
supposed to look at the picture and feel more excited looking at 
that boy because he’s straight. The message is that a straight 
man is more desirable than a faggot. Obviously this is a put 
down to the gay man . 6 

The excitement is supposed to come, in fact, from the visual 
reminder of male superiority to women in which homosexual men 
participate. Without that wider frame of reference, masculinity is 
essentially meaningless. The feminine or references to women in 
male homosexual pornography clarify for the male that the signifi- 
cance of the penis cannot be compromised, no matter what words 
are used to describe his (temporary) position or state of mind. The 
evocation of femininity or the presence of women is in itself a part 
of the sexual excitement because superiority means power and in 
male terms power is sexually exciting. In pornography, the 
homosexual male, like the heterosexual male, is encouraged to 
experience and enjoy his sexual superiority over women. 

In I Love a Laddie , the seduction of boys, the enlarged genitalia of 
a black male who is in a servile social position, and wealth as a sign 
of mature masculinity complete a portrait of male power that is 
imperializing in its motivation, attuned to the nuances of dominance 
in its implicit values, rooted in the hierarchical absolutes of male- 
over-male power within the larger culture. 

The photograph shows two women in an elegant living room. Both 
women have cream-colored skin, taut and flawless. The room is 
cream colored: carpeting, sofa, table, walls. The furniture is taut in 
design: very modern and simple. One woman, blond-haired, lies on 
the sofa, her ass raised on the arm of the sofa, her legs bent back 
toward her stomach, the spread of her legs shown by the distance 
between her feet poised in the air. She is wearing a garter belt, 
nylon stockings that stop a few inches above her knees, and spiked 
heels the same color as her hair. Her eyes are closed, her eye 
shadow is dark gray. Her mouth is slightly open, her lips are 


distinctly pinkish. One of her hands disappears between her legs; 
the other, emerging from a hidden arm, seems to be fondling her 
own breast, which is not visible because one sees the profile of the 
breast closest to the camera. The most prominent part of her body 
is her buttock, raised, highlighted by the intensity of the light on it. 
The rest of her ass, even in profile, is obscured by the head of the 
second woman. The second woman is on her knees beside the sofa 
arm, her features indistinguishable, her mouth apparently kissing 
the first woman’s exposed buttock, but in fact her face is merely 
profiled against the woman’s raised buttock. The second woman is 
perpendicular to the reclining woman, so that her ass, fully 
exposed, directly faces the camera. She is wearing a cream-colored 
robe which is draped across her back and falls to one side to 
highlight her naked ass. Her legs are spread. Pubic hair shows 
underneath. She is wearing spiked heels the same color as her hair, 
dark brown. The light is concentrated on the ass of the woman on 
her knees. 

In the photograph, all visual significance is given to the ass of the 
woman on her knees, which is in the foreground, exaggerated by 
the light markedly on it, and to its echo, the raised buttock of the 
woman reclining. The camera is the penile presence, the viewer is 
the male who participates in the sexual action, which is not within 
the photograph but in the perception of it. The photograph does 
not document lesbian lovemaking; in fact, it barely resembles it. 
The symbolic reality of the photograph — which is vivid— is not in 
the relationship between the two women, which not only does not 
provoke but actually prohibits any recognition of lesbian eroticism 
as authentic or even existent. The symbolic reality instead is 
expressed in the posture of women exposed purposefully to excite a 
male viewer. The ass is exposed and vulnerable; the camera has 
taken it; the viewer can claim it. The spiked heels suggest cruelty, 
associated with the lesbian, the quintessential castrator. At the same 
time, the spiked heels suggest a slavish conformity to male-dictated 
fashion, a crippling of the female, binding of the feet, which is 
underlined in the long and languid accompanying text by the 


declaration that neither woman has ever before made love with a 
woman (so this is just for you, dear boy) and the assurance that men 
are magnificent. The exposed ass is an emblem for the values in the 
photograph as a whole. The contact between the women does not 
exclude the male; it explicitly invites him. The woman on her 
knees, legs spread open, conjures up the propitiating, submissive 
gesture of the animal who takes the same stance (ethologists take 
note: without the spiked heels) allegedly to appease an aggressive 
male. The photograph is the ultimate tribute to male power: the 
male is not in the room, yet the women are there for his pleasure. 
His wealth produces the photograph; his wealth consumes the 
photograph; he produces and consumes the women. The male 
defines and controls the idea of the lesbian in the composition of the 
photograph. In viewing it, he possesses her. The lesbian is 
colonialized, reduced to a variant of woman-as-sex-object, used to 
demonstrate and prove that male power pervades and invades even 
the private sanctuary of women with each other. The power of the 
male is affirmed as omnipresent and controlling even when the male 
himself is absent and invisible. This is divine power, the power of 
divine right to divine pleasure, that pleasure accurately described as 
the sexual debasing of others inferior by birth. In private, the 
women are posed for display. In private, the women still sexually 
service the male, for whose pleasure they are called into existence. 
The pleasure of the male requires the annihilation of women’s 
sexual integrity. There is no privacy, no closed door, no self- 
determined meaning, for women with each other in the world of 


Men and Boys 

Just so does Miller return us to the first question of 
humanism. What, finally, is a Man? 

Norman Mailer, Genius and Lust: 
A Journey Through the Major Writings of Henry Miller 

With a disgust common to all feminists who have tried to be 
participants in the so<alled humanism of men, only to discover 
through bitter experience that the culture of males does not allow 
honest female participation, Virginia Woolf wrote: “I detest the 
masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and 
honour. I think the best these men can do is not to talk about 
themselves anymore.” 1 Men have claimed the human point of view; 
they author it; they own it. Men are humanists, humans, human- 
ism. Men are rapists, batterers, plunderers, killers; these same men 
are religious prophets, poets, heroes, figures of romance, adventure, 
accomplishment, figures ennobled by tragedy and defeat. Men have 
claimed the earth, called it Her. Men ruin Her. Men have airplanes, 
guns, bombs, poisonous gases, weapons so perverse and deadly that 
they defy any authentically human imagination. Men battle each 
other and Her; women battle to be let into the category “human” in 
imagination and reality. Men battle to keep the category “human” 
narrow, circumscribed by their own values and activities; women 
battle to change the meaning that men have given the word, to 
transform its meaning by suffusing it with female experience. 

Boys are birthed and raised by women. At some point, boys 
become men, dim their vision to exclude women. 



All children view things as animate. As Jean Piaget’s work in 
developmental psychology has shown, children hear the wind 
whisper and the trees cry. As Bruno Bettelheim expresses it: “To 
the child, there is no clear line separating objects from living things; 
and whatever has life has life very much like our own .” 2 But adult 
men treat women, and often girls, and sometimes other males, as 
objects. Adult men are convinced and sincere in their perception of 
adult women in particular as objects. This perception of women 
transcends categories of sexual orientation, political philosophy, 
nationality, class, race, and so forth. How does it happen that the 
male child whose sense of life is so vivid that he imparts humanity 
to sun and stone changes into the adult male who cannot grant or 
even imagine the common humanity of women? 

In The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone shows that the boy has 
a choice: remain loyal to the mother who is in reality degraded, 
without authority against the father, unable to protect the child 
from the father’s violence or the violence of other adult men, or 
become a man, one who has the power and the right to hurt, to use 
force, to use his will and physical strength over and against women 
and children. Be the mother — do the housework — or be the 
father — carry a big stick. Be the mother — be fucked — or be the 
father — do the fucking. The boy has a choice. The boy chooses to 
become a man because it is better to be a man than a woman. 

Becoming a man requires that the boy learn to be indifferent to 
the fate of women. Indifference requires that the boy learn to 
experience women as objects. The poet, the mystic, the prophet, 
the so-called sensitive man of any stripe, will still hear the wind 
whisper and the trees cry. But to him, women will be mute. He will 
have learned to be deaf to the sounds, sighs, whispers, screams of 
women in order to ally himself with other men in the hope that they 
will not treat him as a child, that is, as one who belongs with the 

A boy, or his mother, is threatened, hit, or molested. A boy 
experiences male force as its victim or as a witness. This nearly 
universal event is described by John Stoltenberg is an essay, 
“Eroticism and Violence in the Father-Son Relationship”: 


The boy will be a witness as the father abuses his wife — once or 
a hundred times, it only needs to happen once, and the boy will 
be tilled with fear and helpless to intercede. Then the father 
will visit his anger upon the boy himself, uncontrollable rage, 
wrath that seems to come from nowhere, punishment out of 
proportion to any infraction of rules the boy knew existed — 
once or a hundred times, it only needs to happen once, and the 
boy will wonder in agony why the mother did not prevent it. 
From that point onward, the boy’s trust in the mother decays, 
and the son will belong to the father for the rest of his natural 

The boy seeks to emulate the father because it is safer to be like the 
father than like the mother. He learns to threaten or hit because 
men can and men must. He dissociates himself from the powerless- 
ness he did experience, the powerlessness to which females as a 
class are consigned. The boy becomes a man by taking on the 
behaviors of men — to the best of his ability. 

The boy escapes, into manhood, into power. It is his option, 
based on the social valuation of his anatomy. This route of escape is 
the only one now charted. 

But the boy remembers, he always remembers, that once he was 
a child, close to women in powerlessness, in potential or actual 
humiliation, in danger from male aggression. The boy must build 
up a male identity, a fortressed castle with an impenetrable moat, so 
that he is inaccessible, so that he is invulnerable to the memory of 
his origins, to the sorrowful or enraged calls of the women he left 
behind. The boy, whatever his chosen style, turns martial in his 
masculinity, fierce, stubborn, rigid, humorless. His fear of men 
turns into aggression against women. He keeps the distance 
between himself and women unbridgeable, transforms women into 
the dreaded She, or, as Simone de Beauvoir expresses it, “the 
Other.” He learns to be a man — poet man, gangster man, profes- 
sional religious man, rapist man, any kind of man — and the first 
rule of masculinity is that whatever he is, women are not. He calls 
his cowardice heroism, and he keeps women out — out of humanity 
(fabled Mankind), out of his sphere of activity whatever it is n out of 


all that is valued, rewarded, credible, out of the diminishing realm 
of his own capacity to care. Women must be kept out because 
wherever there are women, there is one haunting, vivid memory 
with numberless smothering tentacles: he is that child, powerless 
against the adult male, afraid of him, humiliated by him. 

Boys become men to escape being victims by definition. Girls 
woulcf become men if girls could, because it would mean freedom 
from: freedom from rape most of the time; freedom from continuous 
petty insult and violent devaluation of self; freedom from debilitat- 
ing economic and emotional dependence on someone else; freedom 
from the male aggression channeled against women in intimacy and 
throughout the culture. 

But male aggression is rapacious. It spills over, not accidentally, 
but purposefully. There is war. Older men create wars. Older men 
kill boys by generating and financing wars. Boys fight wars. Boys 
die in wars. Older men hate boys because boys still have the smell 
of women on them. War purifies, washes off the female stink. The 
blood of death, so hallowed, so celebrated, overcomes the blood of 
life, so abhorred, so defamed. The ones who survive the bloodbath 
will never again risk the empathy with women they experienced as 
children for fear of being found out and punished for good: killed 
this time by the male gangs, found in all spheres of life, that enforce 
the male code. The child is dead. The boy has become a man. 

Men develop a strong loyalty to violence. Men must come to 
terms with violence because it is the prime component of male 
identity. Institutionalized in sports, the military, acculturatcd 
sexuality, the history and mythology of heroism, it is taught to boys 
until they become its advocates — men, not women. Men become 
advocates of that w hich they most fear. In advocacy they experience 
mastery of fear. In mastery of fear they experience freedom. Men 
transform their fear of male violence into a metaphysical commit- 
ment: to male violence. Violence itself becomes the central definition 
of any experience that is profound and significant. So, in Love's 


Body, philosopher Norman O. Brown, a sexual radical in the male 
system, posits that “[l]ove is violence. The kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, from hot love and living hope .” 4 In the same 
text, Brown defines freedom in the same way: “Freedom is poetry, 
taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, 
violating common sense. Freedom is violence .” 5 Swim in male 
culture; drown in the male romanticization of violence. On the Left, 
on the Right, in the Middle; authors, statesmen, thieves; so-called 
humanists and self-declared fascists; the adventurous and the 
contemplative; in every realm of male expression and action, 
violence is experienced and articulated as love and freedom. Pacifist 
males are only apparent exceptions: repelled by some forms of 
violence as nearly all men are, they remain impervious to sexual 
violence as nearly all men do. 

Men choose their spheres of advocacy according to what they can 
bear and/or what they can do well. Men will advocate some forms 
of violence and not others. Some men will renounce violence in 
theory, and practice it in secrecy against women and children. 
Some men will become icons in male culture, able to discipline and 
focus their commitment to violence by learning a violent skill: 
boxing, shooting, hunting, hockey, football, soldiering, policing. 
Some men will use language as violence, or money as violence, or 
religion as violence, or science as violence, or influence over others 
as violence. Some men will commit violence against the minds of 
others and some against the bodies of others. Most men, in their life 
histories, have done both. In the area of sexuality, this fact was 
acknowledged with no recognition of its significance by the scholars 
of the Institute for Sex Research (the Kinsey Institute) who studied 
sex offenders: 

If we labeled all punishable sexual behavior as a sex offense, we 
would find ourselves in the ridiculous situation of having all of 
our male histories consist almost wholly of sex offenders, the 
remaining few being not only nonoffenders but nonconform- 
ists. The man who kisses a girl [sic] in defiance of her expressed 
wishes is committing a forced sexual relationship and is liable to 


an assault charge, but to solemnly label him a sex offender 
would be to reduce our study to a ludicrous level . 6 

Rather than “reduce [their] study to a ludicrous level,” which would 
be unthinkable, the honorable scientists chose to sanction as 
normative the male commitment to the use of force documented by 
their study. 

Men are distinguished from women by their commitment to do 
violence rather than to be victimized by it. Men are rewarded for 
learning the practice of violence in virtually any sphere of activity 
by money, admiration, recognition, respect, and the genuflection of 
others honoring their sacred and proven masculinity. In male 
culture, police are heroic and so are outlaws; males who enforce 
standards are heroic and so are those who violate them. The 
conflicts between these groups embody the male commitment to 
violence: conflict is action; action is masculine. It is a mistake to 
view the warring factions of male culture as genuinely distinct from 
one another: in fact, these warring factions operate in near-perfect 
harmony to keep women at their mercy, one way or another. 
Because male supremacy means precisely that men have learned to 
use violence against others, particularly against females, in a 
random or disciplined way, loyalty to some form of male violence, 
its advocacy in language or action, is a prime criterion of effective 
masculine identity. In adoring violence — from the crucifixion of 
Christ to the cinematic portrayal of General Patton — men seek to 
adore themselves, or those distorted fragments of self left over when 
the capacity to perceive the value of life has been paralyzed and 
maimed by the very adherence to violence that men articulate as 
life’s central and energizing meaning. 

Men renounce whatever they have in common with women so as 
to experience no commonality with women; and what is left, 
according to men, is one piece of flesh a few inches long, the penis. 
The penis is sensate; the penis is the man; the man is human; the 


penis signifies humanity. Though this reduct io ad absurdum is the 
central male reality in psyche and in culture, male reductionism is 
more absurdly expressed when men go one step further and reduce 
the penis itself to sperm en masse, or to the one divinely inspired 
sperm that manages to fertilize an egg. Always in the vanguard, R. 
D. Laing, in his 1976 book The Facts of Life , expressed this same 
male reductionism in an even more bizarre way: “One could remain 
in love with one's placenta the rest of one's life. 1 ’ 7 Laing expresses 
both grief and rage over the loss of his (sic) placenta,* but this 
anguish has not yet managed to surpass in cultural significance the 
sorrow of those who, from the castigators of Onan on, mourn lost 
sperm. In Eumenides y Aeschylus insisted that all life originates in 
sperm, that the male is the sole source of life and that therefore the 
sole power over life resides properly with him. The linguistic 
antecedents of the word penis include, in Old English and Old High 
German, the meanings “offspring" and “fetus.” In the last several 
centuries nothing has modified the male compulsion to keep 
reducing life to fragments of male physiology; then to make the 
fragments magical, sources of both power and menace. The 
dimension of menace is especially important in enabling men to 
value bits and pieces of themselves. Sperm, for instance, is seen as 
an agent of death, the woman's death, even when it is viewed as the 
originator of life, male life. Childbearing is glorified in part because 
women die from it. As Martin Luther put it: “If a woman grows 
weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters hot. Let her 
only die from bearing; she is there to do it.” 8 Our own beloved 
Norman Mailer, in The Prisoner of Sex , contemplated that “women 
had begun to withdraw respect from men about the time pregnancy 
lost its danger . . . If [death] had once been a possibility real enough 
for them to look at their mate with eyes of love or eyes of hate but 
know their man might yet be the agent of their death, conceive then 

* Antiabortion activists are energetically attempting to forge a medical 
definition of the placenta as belonging to the fetus, not the mother; and a 
whole host of male-created therapies that explore trauma before birth give 
the fetus a male social identity with its implicit male social suffering, male 
social alienation, and male social privilege. 


of the lost gravity of the act . . Mailer here is not lamenting the 
advent of female-controlled contraception, though he does lament 
it; he is mourning Semmelweis’s discovery of the cause of the 
epidemics of puerperal fever that killed masses of childbearing 
women, including Mary Wollstonecraft. 

The obsessive belief that the penis/sperm, once lodged in 
the woman, is a male fetus, together with the erotic dimension 
of the penis/sperm as agent of female death, accounts in large part 
for the continuing male commitment to forced female pregnancy. 
The vagina/womb, as Erik Erikson articulated, is perceived by the 
male as empty space that must be filled by a penis or a child (male 
until proven otherwise, in which case devalued), which is the penis 
realized — or the woman herself is empty, that is, a nonentity, 

Force — the violence of the male confirming his masculinity — is 
seen as the essential purpose of the penis, its animating principle as 
it were, just as sperm ideally impregnates the woman either without 
reference to or against her will. The penis must embody the 
violence of the male in order for him to be male. Violence is male; 
the male is the penis; violence is the penis or the sperm ejaculated 
from it. What the penis can do it must do forcibly for a man to be a 
man. The reduction of human erotic potential to “sex,” defined as 
the force of the penis visited on an unwilling woman, is the 
governing sexual scenario in male-supremacist society. Havelock 
Ellis, considered a feminist by scholars in the male tradition, sees 
the penis as properly and intrinsically suggesting a whip and the 
whip as a logical and inevitable expression of the penis: 

We must regard the whip as a natural symbol for the penis. 
One of the most frequent ways in which the idea of coitus first 
faintly glimmers before an infantile mind — and it is a glimmer 
which, from an evolutionary standpoint, is biologically cor- 
rect — is as a display of force, of aggression, of something 
resembling cruelty. Whipping is the most obvious form in 
which to the young mind this idea might be embodied. The 
penis is the only organ of the body which in any degree 
resembles a whip . 10 


Throughout male culture, the penis is seen as a weapon, 
especially a sword. The word vagina literally means “sheath.” In 
male-supremacist society, reproduction takes on this same charac- 
ter: force leading, at some point inevitably, to death; the penis/ 
sperm valued as potential agent of female death. For centuries, 
female reluctance to “have sex,” female dislike of “sex,” female 
frigidity, female avoidance of “sex,” have been legendary. This has 
been the silent rebellion of women against the force of the penis, 
generations of women as one with their bodies, chanting in a secret 
language, unintelligible even to themselves, a contemporary song of 
freedom: I will not be moved. The aversion of women to the penis 
and to sex as men define it, overcome only when survival and/or 
ideology demand it, must be seen not as puritanism (which is a male 
strategy to keep the penis hidden, taboo, and sacred), but as 
women’s refusal to pay homage to the primary purveyor of male 
aggression, one on one, against women. In this way, women have 
defied men and subvened male power. It has been an ineffectual 
rebellion, but it has been rebellion nonetheless. 

Boys and men do experience sexual abuse at the hands of men. 
The homophobe’s distorting concentration on this fact, which 
cannot and must not be denied, neatly eliminates from view the 
primary victims of male sexual abuse: women and girls. This is 
congruent with the fact that crimes against females are ultimately 
viewed as expressions of male normalcy, while crimes against men 
and boys are viewed as perversions of that same normalcy. Society’s 
general willingness to do anything necessary to protect boys and 
men from male sexual aggression is testimony to the value of a male 
life. Society’s general refusal to do anything meaningful to protect 
women and girls from male sexual aggression is testimony to the 
worthlessness of a female life. A male life must be protected for its 
own sake. A female life warrants protection only when the female 
belongs to a male, as wife, daughter, mistress, whore; it is the 
owner who has a right to have his rights over his females protected 


from other men, A female’s bodily integrity or well-being is not 
protected because of the value of the woman as a human being in 
her own right. 

The relatively low incidence of male sexual assault against males, 
as contrasted with the pervasive assaults against females, cannot be 
attributed to de jure proscriptions. Rape of women, battery of 
wives, forcible incest with daughters, are also proscribed by male 
law but are widely practiced with virtual impunity by men. The 
key is not in what is forbidden but in what is sanctioned, really and 
truly sanctioned. Sexual violence against women and girls is 
sanctioned and encouraged for a purpose: the active and persistent 
channeling of male sexual aggression against females protects men 
and boys rather effectively from male sexual abuse. The system is 
not perfect, but it is formidable. 

The homophobe’s citing of actual or potential or projected or 
feared sexual abuse of boys in particular also functions to sustain 
male supremacy by obscuring this crucial fact: male sexual aggres- 
sion is the unifying thematic and behavioral reality of male 
sexuality; it does not distinguish homosexual men from heterosex- 
ual men or heterosexual men from homosexual men. An absence or 
repudiation of this aggression, which is exceptional and which does 
exist in an eccentric and minuscule minority composed of both 
homosexual and heterosexual men, distinguishes some men from 
most men, or, to be more precise, the needle from the haystack. 

Prostitution, especially boy prostitution, and prisons are the 
primary social institutions through which men express explicit 
sexual aggression against other males. Sexual abuse of males by 
men docs take place in other areas, though its frequency, if not its 
effect, is unknown. 

While females as a class are always targeted for sexual abuse, 
boys and men are targeted according to their devalued position in 
an exclusively male hierarchy. Youth, poverty, and race are the 
special characteristics that target males as possible victims of other 
men. Youth functions to target a male because a youth is not yet 
fully dissociated from women and children. The experiencing of 
sexual aggression is initiatory; the boy can cross over, soak up the 


aggression of the aggressor and use it against others. Boys who have 
had this experience still grow into men who defend the sexual 
privileges of adult men, no matter what abuses those privileges 
entail. These males protect themselves against being victimized, 
and even the memory of victimization, by turning into victimizers. 
Men who have been molested as children, and who as adults have a 
clearly defined homosexual orientation, sometimes express con- 
fusion as to whether they did or did not like the experience. Part of 
the reason for this confusion is that they longed for sexual contact 
with boys or men but were afraid of discovery or harm. Generally, 
boys and girls who have active sexual longings do not imagine the 
hit-and-run sexuality of the adult male. They are still tied, to 
differing extents, to the nonphallic, more diffuse eroticism they 
experienced with their mothers. They have longings and desires 
that are not reducible to genital sexual contact. Women who were 
molested as children also experience confusion as to what they 
really wanted when the adult male exercised his sexual will on 
them, but must, as a condition of forced femininity, accept the male 
as constant aggressor and forced sex as normative. In women, this 
often results in a passivity oordering on narcolepsy, morbid self- 
blame, and punishing self-hatred. Men molested as children resolve 
their confusion through action: in crossing over to the adult side, 
they remove themselves from the pool of victims. Since as adults 
they can experience the commission of forcible sex with others as 
freedom, they can say, as poet Allen Ginsberg did on a Boston 
television show, that they were molested as children and liked it. 
This is the public stance of the boy who has become the man, no 
matter what his private or secret ambivalences might be. Unlike 
women, men as adults are not likely to be molested again. 

Significantly, forcible father-son incest, or sexual abuse of boys 
by stepfathers or near relatives, seems to be rare within families, 
while the sexual abuse of girls by fathers, stepfathers, and near 
relatives is pervasive. It is possible that evidence of extensive sexual 
abuse of boys within families has simply not yet been uncovered, 
since child abuse in all of its forms is one of this country’s best-kept 
secrets. But it is more likely that the sexual abuse of boys by close 


relatives is actually rare because such abuse is potentially dangerous 
to the adult male and would deeply endanger the power of men as a 
class. The boy will, at some point, be stronger, more virile, than 
the father. He will also be less socialized, that is, not yet fully 
reconciled to the abandonment of all commitment to the humanity 
of women. A sexually abused boy can become sexual aggressor in 
turn, attack the father and, on the physical level, win. Adult men 
tend not to rape their own sons or close male relatives so as not to 
risk rape from them. While the interests of men sometimes conflict, 
this is one rift that the male-supremacist system could not survive. 
One-to-one sexual combat between fathers and sons would rend the 
fabric of patriarchy. The fathers self-interest demands that the 
boy’s burgeoning sexual aggression, developed to begin with in 
response to the father as a personal or social reality, be channeled 
against others, not against the patriarch himself. The father creates 
the monster to control him, not to suffer sexual retribution at his 

Poverty is also the mark of a potential male victim. Prison 
populations are poor and so are prostitute populations. Money is 
one instrument of male force. Poverty is a humiliating, and 
therefore a feminizing, experience; the poor male is less powerful 
than the wealthier male. The one with the money in general 
controls the sexual experience whatever its nature. In a money 
society, money is power, and the buying of another male, especially 
a boy, is forcible sex. Consent, properly understood in a society 
where men have turned both desire and freedom into dirty jokes, is 
a reality only between or among peers, and the poor and the rich are 
never peers. And boys, in particular poor boys, are not and cannot 
be the peers of adult men. 

Racism also targets males as likely victims of sexual abuse. Prison 
populations in the United States are disproportionately made up of 
black males. The indifference of society at large to the sexual abuse 
of men in prisons is directly attributable to the fact that prisons are 
populated by the poor and by blacks. When society is confronted 
with the enormity of the rape problem in male prisons, suddenly 
the outrage occasioned by male sexual abuse in any other sphere 


does not exist; rape of the sacred male when he is in prison is easy to 
ignore or to forget. Those who do care about forcible violation of 
males in prison tend to offer the logical solution: since forcible 
violation of females is normal, introduce females into the prison 
population; then the prisoners can have socially sanctioned sex. 

No one really knows the extent of male sexual abuse of other 
males. Largely in response to the prejudice against male homosex- 
uals that is endemic in the United States and the discriminatory 
attribution of sexual crimes to homosexual men, the reality of such 
abuse is often denied even by those who have experienced it. But 
sexual abuse of boys does exist — contained, controlled, discouraged 
by enforced heterosexuality which has as one of its main purposes 
the protection of males as a whole from the rampant sexual 
aggression characteristic of men as a class: the abuse of boys is 
considered an atrocious crime primarily because the lives of boys 
are valued far above the lives of girls; males are more vulnerable to 
sexual abuse the lower they are in the male hierarchy; the labeling 
of male homosexuals as child molesters particularly functions to 
hide the fact that women and girls are the population most often 
and most consistently victimized and violated by men. As long as 
male sexuality is expressed as force or violence, men as a class will 
continue to enforce the taboo against male homosexuality to protect 
themselves from having that force or violence directed against them. 
Women will be their surrogates, and every institution in the society 
will continue to demand that men do to women what men would 
find insufferable if done to themselves. T. E. Lawrence, the fabled 
Lawrence of Arabia, beaten and raped as an adult, expressed in a 
letter to Charlotte Shaw the desperation that such violation by rape 
is to one not raised to endure it, that is, to a man: 

You instance my night at Deraa. Well, I’m always afraid of 
being hurt; and to me, while I live, the force of that night will 
lie in the agony which broke me, and made me surrender. . . . 

About that night. I shouldn’t tell you, because decent men 
don’t talk about such things. I wanted to put it plain in the book 
[Seven Pillars of Wisdom ] , wrestled for days with my self-respect 
. . . which wouldn’t, hasn’t let me. For fear of being hurt, or 


rather to earn five minutes respite from a pain which drove me 
mad, I gave away the only possession we are born into the 
world with — our bodily integrity. It’s an unforgiveable matter, 
an irrecoverable position: and it’s that which has made me 
foreswear decent living, and the exercise of my not-con- 
temptible wits and talents.” 

T. E. Lawrence attempted to exorcise this experience by repeating 
it: by having himself flagellated by a younger man whom he paid, 
he himself controlling his own humiliation and physical torment. 
This only emphasizes the riveting trauma of losing “the only 
possession we are born into the world with — our bodily integrity”; 
and the male option of finding the means to control sexual reality, 
however devastating that reality has been. 

It must also be noted that glorious ancient Greece, so often cited 
as the ideal male homosexual society, that is, a society in which sex 
among men and boys was entirely acceptable, operated in accor- 
dance with these same principles: male sexual aggression against 
boys and among men was highly regulated by custom and in 
practice; sexual relations between men and boys expressed a rigid 
hierarchy of male power; the youth used was feminized vis-i-vis 
older men; sex was not consensual, that is, among peers (in fact, on 
Crete and in other parts of Greece, boys were kidnapped into sexual 
apprenticeship); the boy became the man, changed status, his 
reward at the end of an apprenticeship; populations of women and 
slaves, neither of which had any rights of citizenship, absorbed the 
brunt of male sexual aggression. Male homosexuality in male- 
supremacist societies has always been contained and controlled by 
men as a class, though the strategies of containment have differed, 
to protect men from rape by other men, to order male sexuality so 
that it is, with reference to males, predictable and safe. Females and 
devalued males who participate in the low status of women are 
logically the preferred victims, since male sexuality as it exists in 
male-supremacist contexts requires victims, not fully present 
equals, in order to realize itself. The devalued males can often 
change status, escape; women and girls cannot. And the devalued 


male who cannot change his devalued status can always find solace 
in his own rights of tyranny and privilege, however circumscribed, 
over women and girls in his own family, class, race, or group. 

It is unlikely that male-male sexuality will be or can be tolerated 
by men as a class until the very nature of masculinity is changed, 
that is, until rape is no longer the defining paradigm of sexuality. 
Those gay men of our own time who offer ancient Greece as a 
utopian model are only confirming that, for them, the continued 
scapegoating of women and the sexual exploitation of less powerful 
males would be an insignificant price to pay for a comfortable 
solution to their own social and sexual dilemma. As adult men, they 
would have freedom as they understand it, the freedom of the 
sexual predator; women, girls, and devalued males would continue 
to be the prey. This moral bankruptcy is not in any sense unique to 
homosexual men; rather, it is part of what they have in common 
with all men. 

I saw, as so many times before, that sublata nullum 
discrimen inter feminas (“when the lamp is taken away, 
all women are alike 11 ). 

Giacomo Casanova, History of My Life 12 

I was born at 1715 hours on October 7th, 1927, into a family that 
consisted of my mother and father, living in a small three-room flat on 
the south side of Glasgow. My father could not admit to anyone for 
several days that I was born. 

My mother went into “a decline.’ 1 A woman was brought in to nurse 
me who after six weeks turned out to be a drunken slut and another 
woman was brought in. She was a drunken slut as well. 

R. D. Laing, Tbe Facts of Life 11 

And it is this that makes the cocksureness of women so dangerous, so 
devastating. It is really out of scheme, it is not in relation to the rest of 
things. So we have the tragedy of cocksure women. They find, so often, 
that instead of having laid an egg, they have laid a vote, or an empty-ink- 


bottle, or some other absolutely unhatchable object, which means 
nothing to them. 

D. H. Lawrence, “Cocksure Women and Hensure Men,” 

Sex , Literature and Censorship 14 

The interest of the employed woman tends to become one with that of her 
employer; between them they combine to crush the interests of the child 
who represents the race, and to defeat the laws made in the interests of the 
race which are those of the community as a whole. The employed woman 
wishes to earn as much wages as she can and with as little interruption as 
she can . . . 

This impulse on the employed woman’s part is by no means always and 
entirely the result of poverty, and would not, therefore, be removed by 
raising her wages. . . . her home means nothing to her; she only returns 
there to sleep, leaving it next morning at daybreak or earlier; she is ignorant 
even of the simplest domestic arts; she moves about in her own home like a 
stranger and awkward child. 

Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex l) 

The queen is the most dangerous of creatures. He is always on the verge 
of threatening a man’s virility. This is not solely because the queen 
represents a man’s antithesis, the extreme evil to be avoided at all costs 
(American education as a whole being devoted to making boys different 
from girls), but because the queen is so nearly a woman that even a 
hidebound heterosexual may make a mistake. 

Georges-Michel Sarotte, Like & Brother , Like a Lover 16 

“You were saying that a lot of your magazine offends you. Then why 
do you keep on publishing?" 

“Because men all over the country need Hustler. They feel inferior, and 
they are. Women are naturally superior; they’re our only hope. I mean, 
my mother lives with me. I’ve always been close to her. She’s a saint. 
And I’m in favor of the women’s movement. It’s just that they take no 
responsibility for scaring men. Why do you think there’s so much 
bisexuality on campuses? Why do you think men molest children- 
Because they’re afraid of relating to liberated women." 

Larry Flynt, interviewed by Jeffrey Klein 17 

. . . Why does Samuel Butler say, “Wise men never say what they think 
of women”? Wise men never say anything else apparently. 

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own 18 


Male perceptions of women are askew, wild, inept. Male renderings 
of women in art, literature, psychology, religious discourses, 
philosophy, and in the common wisdom of the day, whatever the 
day, are bizarre, distorted, fragmented at best, demented in the 
main. Everything is done to keep women out of the perceptual field 
altogether, but, like insects, women creep in; find the slightest 
chink in the male armor and watch her, odious thing, crawl in. 
Even this presence, on hands and knees as it were, is so disorient- 
ing, so fiercely threatening, that attributions of malice must be 
made — immediate, intense, slanderous, couched in language that 
conveys the man’s absolute authority to speak. In male reality, 
women cannot enter male consciousness without violating it. The 
male is contaminated and distressed by any contact with woman- 
not-as-object. He loses ground. His own masculinity cannot 
withstand what he regards as an assault unless he steps on the 
uppity thing, crushes it by hook or by crook, by insult, open hand 
flat against the face or clenched fist crushed into it. The dark 
comforts him because it dims personality; he has sex in the dark to 
convince himself that all women are the same, without individual 
substance or importance, a la Casanova. Dependence on women is 
abhorrent to him, so even at birth he was surrounded by drunken 
sluts, a la Laing. Women who want to work or vote are vicious, 
having abandoned every shred of female decency, which is 
qualitatively different and entirely distinct from male decency, a la 
D. H. Lawrence and Havelock Ellis. Male decency miraculously 
survives the commission of murder and rape; female decency is 
abnegated when the woman steps out of the house to work or vote. 
A male masquerading as a female is dangerous because men cannot 
distinguish him from the real thing ( thing here used literally, not 
idiomatically) a la Sarotte. The male will even, a la Larry Flynt, 
attribute some specious kind of superiority to the female to justify 
his cruel abuses of women in reality and in this context, remem- 
bered for a split second, mother was a saint. In the main, the 
abominable She is held responsible for everything bad, fearful, or 
alienating that ever happened to the fully-human-He. Any assertion 


of female self leads to the inevitable decline of society; and when the 
abominable She calls attention to herself as human, not object, she 
violates the male’s most essential sense of masculine self. Every 
attempt she makes to reclaim the humanity he has stolen from her 
makes her subject to insult, ridicule, and abuse. In his view, she is 
not a woman unless she acts like a woman as he has defined woman. 
His definition need not be coherent. It is never scrutinized for logic 
or consistency or even threadbare common sense. He can theorize, 
fantasize, call it science or art; whatever he says about women is 
true because he says it. He is the authority on what she is because 
he has made her, cut away at her as if she were a piece of stone until 
the prized inanimate object is extracted. As filmmaker Agnes 
Varda, crediting Simone de Beauvoir as the source, expressed it in 
her film One Sings, the Other Doesn't : Women are made, not born. 

Men want women to be objects, controllable as objects are 
controllable. Women who deviate from the male definition are 
monstrous, sluts, depraved. Since all women do deviate to some 
degree, all women are viewed to some degree as monstrous, sluts, 
depraved, with appetites that, if unleashed, would swallow up the 
male, destroy him. Men know that the object does breathe, but 
rather than face up to the meaning of this knowledge, they prefer to 
believe that under the object lurks a hungry, angry viper; that the 
object is a rock that must never be moved or picked up or the viper 
will strike. Suddenly, one is confronted with the fragile, vulnerable 
male, threatened by reptilian female genitalia (for instance, the 
vagina dentata), or the devouring mother, or the insatiable lust of 
the nymphomaniac. The fear that what men have suppressed in 
women will emerge to destroy them makes the control of women an 
urgent and absolute necessity. Men dare to claim not only that they 
are fragile but that the power of women over them is immense and 

In The Mermaid and the Minotaur, Dorothy Dinnerstcin proposes 
that this delusion originates in the infantile experience of the all- 
powerful mother; all infantile ambivalences and rage are taken out 
on women for the duration of a male life. (According to Dinner- 
stein, women are self-punishing because of this same infantile rage.) 


The solution, as Dinnerstein sees it, is child care by men as well as 
women, so that the vengeance can be more fairly doled out. 

But it is the male who is powerful, and even the child, early on, 
knows it, perceives it, acts to mitigate the danger, to protect himself 
from it. This means making an alliance with the one who has the 
power, the father; and this is what all boys try to do. To 
understand, or to know even without understanding, that survival 
demands this alliance means that the boy has passed beyond any 
infantile experience of the mother’s power over his immediate well- 
being. He has experienced her powerlessness, and it is this more 
mature experience of female powerlessness, of the female’s inability 
to protect the boy from the power of the adult male, that is the basis 
of his adult behavior. 

Adult men have made their seedy pact with and for male power. 
They have entered the kingdom and once there, they will not return 
voluntarily to the degraded world of the female. Because as men 
they can define reality without reference to truth, they turn their 
own experience on its ass to justify their capitulation to the power 
of the father, their cowardly abandonment of the mother. Their 
guilt must be very great. In all their communication, shouted and 
whispered, no matter what men have done to them, they name 
women the threat, and the truth is that any loyalty to women does 
threaten a man’s place in the community of men. Anything, 
including memory or conscience, that pulls a man toward women as 
humans, not as objects and not as monsters, does endanger him. 
But the danger is always from other men. And no matter how afraid 
he is of those other men, he has taken a vow — one for all and all for 
one — and he will not tell. Women are scapegoated here too, called 
powerful by men who know only too well how powerless women 
are — know it so well that they will tell any lie and commit any 
crime so as not to be touched by the stigma of that powerlessness. 

Everything in life is part of it. Nothing is off in its own comer, 
isolated from the rest. While on the surface this may seem self- 

mi:n and boys 67 

evident, the favorite conceit of male culture is that experience can 
be fractured, literally its bones split, and that one can examine the 
splinters as if they were not part of the bone, or the bone as if it 
were not part of the body. This conceit replicates in its values and 
methodology the sexual reductionism of the male and is derived 
from it. Everything is split apart: intellect from feeling and/or 
imagination; act from consequence; symbol from reality; mind from 
body. Some part substitutes for the whole and the whole is 
sacrificed to the part. So the scientist can work on bomb or virus, 
the artist on poem, the photographer on picture, with no apprecia- 
tion of its meaning outside itself; and even reduce each of these 
things to an abstract element that is part of its composition and 
focus on that abstract element and nothing else — literally attribute 
meaning to or discover meaning in nothing else. In the mid- 
twentieth century, the post-Holocaust world, it is common for men 
to find meaning in nothing: nothing has meaning; Nothing is 
meaning. In prerevolutionary Russia, men strained to be nihilists; it 
took enormous effort. In this world, here and now, after Ausch- 
witz, after Hiroshima, after Vietnam, after Jonestown, men need 
not strain. Nihilism, like gravity, is a law of nature, male nature. 
The men, of course, are tired. It has been an exhausting period of 
extermination and devastation, on a scale genuinely new, with new 
methods, new possibilities. Even when faced with the probable 
extinction of themselves at their own hand, men refuse to look at 
the whole, take all the causes and all the effects into account, 
perceive the intricate connections between the world they make and 
themselves. They are alienated, they say, from this world of pain 
and torment; they make romance out of this alienation so as to avoid 
taking responsibility for what they do and what they are. Male 
dissociation from life is not new or particularly modern, but the 
scale and intensity of this disaffection are new. And in the midst of 
this Brave New World, how comforting and familiar it is to exercise 
passionate cruelty on women. The old-fashioned values still obtain. 
The world may end tomorrow, but tonight there is rape — a kiss, a 
fuck, a pat on the ass, a fist in the face. In the intimate world of men 
and women, there is no mid-twentieth century distinct from any 


other century. There are only the old values, women there for the 
taking, the means of taking determined by the male. It is ancient 
and it is modern; it is feudal, capitalist, socialist; it is caveman and 
astronaut, agricultural and industrial, urban and rural. For men, 
the right to abuse women is elemental, the first principle, with no 
beginning unless one is willing to trace origins back to God and 
with no end plausibly in sight. For men, their right to control and 
abuse the bodies of women is the one comforting constant in a 
world rigged to blow up but they do not know when. 

In pornography, men express the tenets of their unchanging 
faith, what they must believe is true of women and of themselves to 
sustain themselves as they are, to ward off recognition that a 
commitment to masculinity is a double-edged commitment to both 
suicide and genocide. In life, the objects are fighting back, 
rebelling, demanding that every breath be reckoned with as the 
breath of a living person, not a viper trapped under a rock, but an 
authentic, willful, living being. In pornography, the object is slut, 
sticking daggers up her vagina and smiling. A bible piling up its 
code for centuries, a secret corpus gone public, a private corpus 
gone political, pornography is the male’s sacred stronghold, a 
monastic retreat for manhood on the verge of its own destruction. 
As one goes through the pictures of the tortured and maimed, reads 
the stories of gang rape and bondage, what emerges most clearly is a 
portrait of men who need to believe in their own absolute, 
unchangeable, omnipresent, eternal, limitless power over others. 
Every image reveals not the so-called object in it but the man who 
needs it: to keep his prick big when every bomb dwarfs it; to keep 
his sense of masculine self intact when the world of his own creation 
has made that masculine self a useless and rather silly anachronism; 
to keep women the enemy even though men will destroy him and 
he by being faithful to them will be responsible for that destruction; 
to sustain his belief in the righteousness of his real abuses of women 
when, in fact, they would be insupportable and unbearable if he 
dared to experience them as what they are — the bullying brutalities 
of a coward too afraid of other men to betray or abandon them. 
Pornography is the holy corpus of men who would rather die than 


change. Dachau brought into the bedroom and celebrated, every 
vile prison or dungeon brought into the bedroom and celebrated, 
police torture and thug mentality brought into the bedroom and 
celebrated — men reveal themselves and all that matters to them in 
these depictions of real history, plasticized and rarefied, represented 
as the ( common erotic stuff of male desire. And the pictures and 
stories lead right back to history — to peoples enslaved, maimed, 
murdered — because they show that, for men, the history of atrocity 
they pretend to mourn is coherent and utterly intentional if one 
views it as rooted in male sexual obsession. Pornography reveals 
that slavery, bondage, murder, and maiming have been acts 
suffused with pleasure for those who committed them or who 
vicariously experienced the power expressed in them. Pornography 
reveals that male pleasure is inextricably tied to victimizing, 
hurting, exploiting; that sexual fun and sexual passion in the 
privacy of the male imagination are inseparable from the brutality 
of male history. The private world of sexual dominance that men 
demand as their right and their freedom is the mirror image of the 
public world of sadism and atrocity that men consistently and self- 
righteously deplore. It is in the male experience of pleasure that one 
finds the meaning of male history. 


The Marquis de Sade (1740—1814) 

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; 

They kill us for their sport. 

Shakespeare, King Lear 

Donatien-Alphonse-Fran$ois de Sade — known as the Marquis de 
Sade, known to his ardent admirers who are legion as The Divine 
Marquis — is the world's foremost pomographer. As such he both 
embodies and defines male sexual values. In him, one finds rapist 
and writer twisted into one scurvy knot. His life and writing were 
of a piece, a whole cloth soaked in the blood of women imagined 
and real. In his life he tortured and raped women. He was batterer, 
rapist, kidnapper, and child abuser. In his work he relentlessly 
celebrated brutality as the essence of eroticism; fucking, torture, 
and killing were fused; violence and sex, synonymous. His work 
and legend have survived nearly two centuries because literary, 
artistic, and intellectual men adore him and political thinkers on the 
Left claim him as an avatar of freedom. Sainte-Beuve named Sade 
and Byron as the two most significant sources of inspiration for the 
original and great male writers who followed them. Baudelaire, 
Flaubert, Swinburne, Lautreamont, Dostoevski, Cocteau, and 
Apollinaire among others found in Sade what Paul Tillich, another 
devotee of pornography, might have called “the courage to be.” 
Simone de Beauvoir published a long apologia for Sade. Camus, 
who unlike Sade had an aversion to murder, romanticized Sade as 
one who had mounted “the great offensive against a hostile heaven ” 1 
and was possibly “the first theoretician of absolute rebellion .” 2 
Roland Barthes wallowed in the tiniest details of Sade’s crimes. 


THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) '71 

those committed in life as well as on paper. Sade is precursor to 
Artaud’s theater of cruelty, Nietzsche’s will to power, and the 
rapist frenzy of William Burroughs. In England in 1966, a twelve- 
year-old boy and a ten-year-old girl were tortured and murdered by 
a self-proclaimed disciple of Sade. The crimes were photographed 
and tape-recorded by the murderer, who played them back for 
pleasure. In 1975 in the United States, organized crime reportedly 
sold “snuff’ films to private collectors of pornography. In these 
films, women actually were maimed, sliced into pieces, fucked, and 
killed — the perfect Sadean synthesis. Magazines and films depicting 
the mutilation of women for the sake of sexual pleasure now 
abound. A major translator into English of Sade’s thousands of 
pages of butchery and the one primarily responsible for the 
publication of Sade’s work in accessible mass-market editions in the 
United States is Richard Seaver, a respected figure in establishment 
publishing. Seaver, instrumental in the propagation of Sade’s work 
and legend, has reportedly written a film of Sade’s life that will be 
made by Alain Resnais. Sade’s cultural influence on all levels is 
pervasive. His ethic — the absolute right of men to rape and 
brutalize any “object of desire” at will — resonates in every sphere. 

Sade was born into a noble French family closely related to the 
reigning monarch. Sade was raised with the prince, four years his 
senior, during his earliest years. When Sade was four, his mother 
left the Court and he was sent to live with his grandmother. At the 
age of five, he was sent to live with his uncle, the Abbe de Sade, a 
clergyman known for his sensual indulgences. Sade’s father, a 
diplomat and soldier, was absent during Sade’s formative years. 
Inevitably, biographers trace Sade’s character to his mother’s 
personality, behavior, and alleged sexual repression, despite the fact 
that very little is known about her. What is known, but not 
sufficiently noted, is that Sade was raised among the male mighty. 
He wrote in later years of having been humiliated and controlled by 

At the age of fifteen, Sade entered the military as an officer. At 
this age, he apparently began gambling and frequenting brothels. 
Purchasing women was one of the great passions of his life, and 


most of the women and girls he abused during his lifetime were 
whores or servants. Sade advanced in the military and was 
promoted several times, each promotion bringing with it more 

Those leftists who champion Sade might do well to remember 
that prerevolutionary France was filled with starving people. The 
feudal system was both cruel and crude. The rights of the 
aristocracy to the labor and bodies of the poor were unchallenged 
and not challengeable. The tyranny of class was absolute. The poor 
sold what they could, including themselves, to survive. Sade 
learned and upheld the ethic of his class. 

Nearly twenty-three, Sade fell in love with a woman of his own 
class, Laure de Lauris. Sade’s urgent desire to marry her was 
frustrated when she begged her father not to permit the marriage 
under any circumstances. Sade was enraged by her “betrayal” of 
him, possibly occasioned by the venereal disease both had con- 
tracted. Sade blamed her for infecting him, and his biographers, 
always credulous, take him at his word despite his already long and 
sordid sexual history. There is no cited evidence that Laure de 
Lauris had any other sexual partner. 

That same year, Sade entered into an arranged marriage with 
Renee-Pelagie de Montreuil, elder daughter of a wealthy family. 
Within six weeks after his marriage, Sade had rented an isolated 
house in which he acted out his sexual desires on women whom he 

Five months after his marriage, Sade terrified and assaulted a 
twenty-year-old working-class woman, Jeanne Testard. Testard, a 
fan maker, had agreed to service a young nobleman. She was taken 
to Sade’s private house and locked in a room. Sade made clear to 
her that she was a captive. She was subjected to verbal abuse and 
humiliation. In particular, Sade raged against her conventional 
Christian religious beliefs. He told her that he had masturbated into 
a chalice in a chapel and that he had taken two hosts, placed them 
inside a woman, and fucked her. Testard told Sade that she was 
pregnant and could not tolerate maltreatment. Sade took Testard 
into a room filled with whips, religious symbols, and pornographic 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 73 

pictures. He wanted Testard to whip him, and then he wanted to 
beat her. She refused. He took two crucifixes, crushed one, and 
masturbated on the other. He demanded that she destroy the one on 
which he had masturbated. She refused. He threatened her life 
with two pistols that were in the room and a sword that he was 
wearing. She crushed the crucifix. He wanted to give her an enema 
and have her shit on the crucifix. She refused. He wanted to 
sodomize her. She refused. Sade threatened, harangued, and 
lectured her through a very long night during which she did not eat 
or sleep. Before releasing her, he made her sign a blank piece of 
paper and promise to tell no one about what had transpired. He 
wanted her to agree to meet him the following Sunday so that he 
could fuck her with a host inside of her. 

On being freed, Testard went to the police. Sade was arrested, 
apparently because police interviews with prostitutes revealed that 
Sade had abused scores of them. Sade was punished because he had 
become careless in his excesses. He was imprisoned for two months 
at Vincennes in squalor most distressing to a gentleman. He wrote 
letters to the authorities in which he begged them to keep the nature 
of his crime secret from his family. 

After his release, Sade began a series of affairs with actresses and 
dancers, who in the eighteenth century were almost always also 
courtesans. He kept several of these women and continued purchas- 
ing less distinguished women as well. 

Sade’s abuse of prostitutes became so alarming that, within a year 
after his brutal treatment of Testard, the police warned procuresses 
not to provide Sade with women. Sade’s valet scavenged the streets 
for victims, some of whom, according to Sade’s neighbors, were 

During this same period, he also managedro impregnate his wife, 
who gave birth to a son. 

In 1768, Easter Sunday early in the morning, Rose Keller, in her 
mid-thirties, a German immigrant, a widow, a cotton spinner who 
had been unemployed for approximately a month, approached Sade 
to beg for alms. He offered her work housecleaning. She accepted. 
He told her that she would be well fed and treated kindly. 


Sade took Keller to his private house. He took her to a dark room 
in which the windows were boarded and said he was going to get 
her food. He locked her in the room. Keller had waited for about an 
hour when Sade came to take her into another room. He told her to 
undress. She refused. He tore her clothes off, threw her face down 
onto a couch, tied her arms and legs with ropes. He whipped her 
brutally. He took a knife and told her that he would kill her. 
According to Keller, Sade kept cutting her with a knife and rubbing 
wax into the wounds. Keller believed she would die and begged 
Sade not to kill her until she could make her Easter confession. 
When Sade was finished with her, he took her back to the first room 
and ordered her to wash and rub brandy into her wounds. This she 
did. He also rubbed into the wounds an ointment that he had 
invented. He was proud of his invention, which he claimed healed 
wounds quickly. Later, Sade alleged that he had paid Keller to be 
whipped so that he could test his ointment. Sade brought Keller 
food. He took her back to the room where he had beaten her and 
locked her in. Keller bolted the door from the inside. She 
unblocked some of the locked shutters with a knife, injuring herself 
in the process, made a rope of bedding, and climbed out of the 
window and down the wall. Sade’s valet pursued her and offered 
her money to return. She pushed him off and ran. 

Keller was badly hurt and her clothes were ripped. She ran until 
she encountered a village woman, to whom she poured out her 
story. Other women joined. They examined her and then took her 
to an inappropriate official, since the local magistrate was away. A 
police official called in from elsewhere took her statement. Keller 
was examined by a surgeon and was given refuge. 

Sade’s mother-in-law, Madame de Montreuil, settled a large sum 
of money on Rose Keller to persuade her to withdraw criminal 
charges. Despite the settlement, Sade was imprisoned for nearly 
eight months, during which time he impregnated his wife again. 
When he returned to Lacoste, his home with his wife, she left for 
Paris, where, seven months later, Sade’s second son was bom. 
Sade’s pursuit of other women began on his release. Sade weaved in 
and out of Renee-Pelagie’s life. In April 1771 a daughter was bom. 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 75 

In September 1771 Sadc began an affair with his wife’s younger 
sister, Anne-Prospere. 

In June 1772, Sade traveled to Marseilles with his valet, known as 
Latour. During the course of Sade’s brief stay there, Latour 
procured five prostitutes for Sade. Sade (in varying combinations) 
beat, fucked, and forcibly sodomized the women, with his usual 
threats of worse violence and death. He also had his valet sodomize 
at least one of the women and himself. In Marseilles, Sade added 
another dimension to his sexual repertoire: he encouraged the 
women to eat candies that had been laced with drugs. The women 
did not know what they were eating. Sade’s defenders claim that 
the candies were treated with a harmless aphrodisiac and something 
to encourage flatulence, which Sade found particularly charming. 
Two of the women became violently ill from the candies, had 
intense abdominal pain, vomited blood and black mucus. The 
women believed that they had been poisoned, and there is little 
doubt that had they consumed the quantities of the candy that Sade 
had wanted them to eat, they would have become deadly ill. One of 
the women went to the police. An investigation of Sade’s brutality 
with the five prostitutes — the forced flagellation, the forced sod- 
omy, the attempted poisoning — led to an order to arrest both Sade 
and Latour. Sade, with Anne-Prospere as his lover and Latour as 
his valet, fled to Italy to escape arrest. 

Sade and Latour were found guilty of poisoning and sodomy (a 
capital crime irrespective of force) in absentia. They were sentenced 
to death. In lieu of the death sentence that could not be carried out, 
the two men were burned in effigy. 

Sade’s mother-in-law, Madame de Montrcuil, faced with Sade’s 
incorrigibility, perhaps in an effort to separate Anne-Prospere from 
Sade, used her formidable political influence to have Sade im- 
prisoned in Italy. For the next four months, Sade wrote letters to 
high officials in Italy and France in which he bemoaned the 
injustice of his imprisonment and pleaded to be freed. At the end of 
the fourth month, he escaped. Shortly after his escape, Sade wrote 
his mother-in-law several times to ask for money. When it was not 
forthcoming, Sade returned to Lacoste. On his return to France, 


another order was issued for his arrest. He again escaped. After a 
few weeks, he again returned to Lacoste. Renee-Pelagie filed a 
complaint against her mother, probably in the hope that this 
pressure would encourage Madame de Montreuil to use her 
influence to have the charges against Sade dropped. Despite the 
complaint against Madame de Montreuil, a new warrant was issued 
for Sade’s arrest. He went into hiding, then returned again to 
Lacoste. Ren6e-Pelagie continued to try to have her mother 
arrested. Her efforts were rewarded with a promise from high 
government officials that an appeal would be presented in the 
parliament to cancel Sade’s sentence. This would then lead to 
invalidation of the lettre de cachet (an order from the king that a given 
person be imprisoned without trial and with no predetermined 
sentence) that had also been issued against Sade. 

Sade, with an end to his legal troubles in sight, intensified his 
pursuit of pleasure. He had a procuress known as Nanon find him 
five fifteen-year-old girls who were taken to Lacoste and forced to 
submit to Sade’s brutality. Sade’s wife was a participant in these 
new sexual extravaganzas. She became the prime apologist for 
Sade’s violence against the girls, even though, as one of them 
testified, Renee-Pelagie was herself “the first victim of a fury which 
can be described only as madness.” 3 Parents of three of the girls 
pressed charges against Sade, who refused to release his captives. 
One of the girls was horribly injured. She was sent to Sade’s uncle, 
the Abbe, to keep her from testifying against Sade. Renee-Pelagie 
did everything possible to keep a doctor from treating the girl, since 
evidence of bodily injury could be used against Sade and herself as 
well. Madame de Montreuil, perhaps to protect her daughter, 
joined with Renee-Pelagie and Sade to try to coerce the parents into 
dropping their complaints. Meanwhile, Sade forcibly kept the girls 
at Lacoste. They would be returned to their parents only if no 
charges of kidnapping were made. 

Sade brought more women and girls to Lacoste. Human bones 
were found in Sade’s garden; he claimed one of his mistresses had 
planted them as a joke. Nanon, the procures s, became pregnant by 
Sade. Madame de Montreuil had a lettre de cachet issued for her 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 77 

arrest. Nanon was imprisoned; her infant daughter died at Lacoste 
shortly after she was born because the wet nurse’s milk went dry. 

Sade was again threatened with arrest. He escaped again to Italy. 
The fifteen-year-old girl who had been most severely injured and 
had been sent to Sade’s uncle had not, in nine months, recovered 
from her injuries. She was finally taken to a hospital where the Sade 
family conspired to keep her from talking with anyone to whom she 
might reveal what had happened to her. By this time, the Abb6 
believed that Sade should be imprisoned. 

For a year, Sade traveled in Italy. He complained of being 
lonely. One of the kidnapped girls, still kept at Lacoste, died. 
Another escaped and went to the police. Against the advice of 
Ren6e-Pelagie, Sade returned to Lacoste. More women were 
procured for him. Sade kept spending money on women while 
Renee-Pelagie lived in near penury. He hired servants, locked them 
up, forced them to submit to him. A father of a servant hired by 
Sade tried to shoot him. The daughter signed a statement defending 
Sade. The authorities ordered the woman returned to her father. 
She was not. 

Another attempt was made to arrest Sade. He hid. On being 
informed by Madame de Montreuil that his mother was dying in 
Paris, he went there. She died before he arrived, but in Paris Sade 
was arrested under a lettre de cachet. Madame de Montreuil had told 
the police Sade’s whereabouts. He was sent to Vincennes, where he 
was imprisoned for nearly six years. In 1784, he was transferred to 
the Bastille. In 1789, the people of France were near revolution. 
Sade rigged up an improvised loudspeaker from his cell and 
exhorted the people to lay siege to the Bastille. He was moved to 
Charenton, a lunatic asylum. On July 14, 1789, the Bastille was 
stormed and its warden killed. In 1790, Sade was released from 
Charenton along with all prisoners who had been imprisoned under 
lettres de cachet by the old regime. 

During the years of his imprisonment in Vincennes and the 
Bastille, Sade wrote the body of literature for which he is best 
known (though his literary career did not begin in prison; he had 
done some writing and even produced and directed theatrical events 


sporadically). On Sade’s release, Ren6e-Pelagie, whom Sade had 
subjected to extraordinary scorn and abuse during his imprison- 
ment, left him and obtained a legal separation. Sade’s bitterness 
toward her was unrelenting. Apparently he felt that he had given 
her the best years of his life, which were less than perfect only 
because he had been maliciously persecuted. He especially blamed 
Renee-Pelagie for the loss of manuscripts that had been taken or 
destroyed during the siege of the Bastille. She had failed to rescue 
them, as he had demanded, and may have burned some herself. In 
the ensuing years, he set about re-creating the lost work. After his 
release, Sade also met his daughter as an adult for the first time. He 
hated her on sight. Early in 1791, Sade began living with Marie- 
Constance Renelle, to whom Justine is dedicated and with whom he 
had what his biographers consider a sincere, loving, devoted 
relationship. Sade was no longer a young rake. In prison he had 
become very fat, and the French Revolution had deprived him of 
his power as an aristocrat. Necessity, that fabled parent of 
invention, gave birth in a few short months to Citizen Sade. 

For nearly four years, Sade walked a political tightrope. He 
played the role of one who had been abused by the old regime, who 
had no loyalties to the old nobility and was entirely committed to 
the new society. He made politically correct speeches, renamed 
streets to reflect the ideology of the revolution, and worked to keep 
his own property from the legitimate claims of the revolution and of 
Renee-Pelagie. According to his biographers, Sade’s essential 
humanism was demonstrated during the Terror when he was on a 
committee that passed judgment on the Montreuils: he could have 
denounced them and had them killed, but he did not. It is more 
likely that Sade, a consummate survivor, had understood that, 
during the Terror, guilt by past association could endanger his own 
life. Condemnation of the Montreuils could eventually have led to 
his own death for his having consorted with them. 

Revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat discovered the nature of 
the crimes for which Sade had been imprisoned under the old 
regime. He denounced Sade but by mistake someone with a similar 
name was executed. Marat, although he became aware of his 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 79 

mistake, did not live to rectify it: he was assassinated by Charlotte 

Toward the end of 1793, Sade was imprisoned. The charge was 
that in 1791 he had volunteered to serve the king. Sade insisted that 
he had thought the regiment in which he had volunteered to serve 
was Iqyal to the revolution. He remained in prison and in July 1794 
was sentenced to death. The administration of the prisons was so 
inefficient that Sade could not be found. He was not executed. 
Later that same month, Robespierre was executed, and the Terror 
ended. Two months later, Sade was released. 

In 1800, Napoleon came to power. In March 1801, Sade was 
again arrested, this time for authoring obscene literature (Justine , 
published in part in 1791 and in a new version in 1797; and Juliette , 
published in 1797). Except for his imprisonment for antirevolution- 
ary activity in 1793, all Sade’s imprisonment in France up to this 
point (he was sixty) had been for committing brutal crimes against 
persons. Sade was imprisoned by administrative order. He denied 
that he had authored either Justine or Juliette and particularly 
denounced Justine as filth. He was imprisoned at Sainte-Pelagie for 
two years, during which time he sexually assaulted other prisoners. 
As a result of his assaultive behavior in Sainte-Pelagie and because 
of a change in policy that separated the treatment of criminals from 
the treatment of the insane, Sade was transferred to Bicete, an 
asylum. He had been there for forty-four days when, on the basis of 
an appeal by his sons, he was transferred to Charenton, where 
living conditions were considerably better — his especially, since his 
family paid the institution handsomely for his room and board. 
Marie-Constance Renelle was allowed to live at Charenton with 
him. Sade was also permitted to produce expensive theatrical 
events, which were open to the public. 

Several attempts were made to have Sade transferred back to 
prison, since medical opinion was that he was a criminal, not a 
madman. But Sade was useful to the head of Charenton, especially 
as director of drama. Sade stayed at Charenton until he died in 1814 
at the age of seventy-four. In the last year or two of his life, still 
cohabiting with Renelle, he had an affair with Madeleine Leclerc, 


perhaps fourteen years old, essentially sold to him by her mother. 
As he noted in his diary, from her he wanted and obtained absolute 
submission as he had, all his life, understood and appreciated it. 

Fiddling with the hairs on an elephant’s nose is 
indecent when the elephant happens to be standing 
on the baby. 

John Gardner, On Moral Fiction 

In a woman-hating culture, it is particularly difficult to make 
credible the claim that a crime committed against a woman must 
matter. The belief that women exist to be used by men is so old, so 
deep set, so widely accepted, so commonplace in its everyday 
application, that it is rarely challenged, even by those who pride 
themselves on and are recognized for their intellectual acumen and 
ethical grace. Keening, wild, and wailing or sober, severe, and 
rigorous, feminists keep pointing to a woman who is real and does 
exist and who must matter. Others look and see only insignificant 
shadows moving under the feet of those real people to whom real 
things happen — men — so that in a room of a hundred “people,” half 
men, half women, a male-defined observer will see fifty men and 
fifty shadows. Rape a shadow and watch it disappear. Rape a 
shadow, and does it matter? Sometimes, it appears that shadows 
pursue. They cannot be lost. They follow, nipping at the heels. 
Attributions of malice are made. Shadows become ominous, 
haunting. In histories and biographies, in philosophical and literary 
essays, male-supremacist culture perpetuates the power of men over 
women by turning women into shadows. The shameful inequities 
of life are maintained by the distortions and manipulations perva- 
sive in so-called nonfiction. What happens to men is portrayed as 
authentic, significant, and what happens to women is left out or 
shown not to matter. Women are portrayed as the shadows that 
tamely follow or maliciously haunt men, never as the significant 
beings who matter. 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE ( 1740 - 1814 ) 81 

So sexual philosopher Georges Bataille, in Death and Sensuality, 
can write without embarrassment (or, until the women’s move- 
ment, without fear of contradiction): "In his life de Sade took other 
people into account, but his conception of fulfilment worked over 
and over in his lonely cell led him to deny outright [in writing] the 
claim? of other people .” 4 Sade, of course, had denied outright the 
claims of other people since his youth, but the “other people” were 
primarily women, real women, and so are of no significance to 

In the same way, Donald Thomas, one of Sadc’s recent biogra- 
phers, can claim: “The cruelties of his fiction are quite at variance 
with almost all Sade’s conduct . . .” 5 Thomas also insists that 
Sadc’s sexual desires were “indulged largely in his fiction .” 6 The 
abused bodies of women, piled up in heaps through a cruel and 
conscienceless life, are dismissed by facile distortion or complete 
denial. Not above writing false history to trivialize Sade’s bru- 
talities against women, Thomas, with this intellectual sleight of 
hand, makes the victim disappear into thin air: 

The Marquis de Sade’s true difficulty was not that he had an 
inclination for beating some of the girls [sic] whom he hired or 
that he submitted them to unorthodox sexual acts, but that he 
did this in the middle of the eighteenth century when they were 
more likely to complain and be heard . 7 

It is fair to point out that the feudal system rather effectively 
discouraged whores from going to the police with complaints 
against noblemen. 

Simone de Beauvoir, in an essay entitled “Must We Burn Sade?” 
first published in the early fifties, also manages to make the crime 
and the victims nearly invisible: “Actually, whipping a few girls 
[sic] (for a consideration agreed upon in advance) is rather a petty 
feat; that Sade set so much store on it is enough to cast suspicion on 

The rights of women as persons are entirely, if disingenuously, 
denied by Richard Scaver and Austryn Wainhouse, Sade’s transla- 
tors into Knglish, in their foreword to a collection of Sade’s work: 


With his usual perception about himself, Sade once noted in 
a letter to his wife that, had the authorities any insight, they 
would not have locked him up to plot and daydream and make 
philosophical disquisitions as wild and vengeful and absolute as 
any ever formulated; they would have set him free and 
surrounded him with a harem on whom to feast. But societies 
do not cater to strange tastes; they condemn them. Thus Sade 
became a writer . 9 

Again, brutalities against women are somehow transposed, this 
time into something less dangerous and less significant than writing. 
The victims of Sade’s sexual terrorism are less important than 
“philosophical disquisitions.” This valuation is not the final result 
of any moral anguish; it is entirely unselfconscious. 

In tome after tome, Sade’s biographers write the women Sade 
assaulted in either invisible ink or spleen. Norman Gear, in The 
Divine Demon , is both fanciful and cute: 

Had he not been more than punished for his sins? And what, 
after all, had they amounted to? He had given a few girls and 
women a little pain, but not so much really, and none of them 
had been seriously harmed. He had seduced some girls, but he 
had never raped one. Most of the women he had used in his 
orgies had come to him willingly enough, for payment, or, 
oddly enough, because they liked him. . . . Even poor Rose 
Keller had soon recovered from her thrashing, and had been 
very well rewarded for a week with a sore behind. As for the 
whores in Marseilles — they had been paid for their services and 
had not endured worse than it was their common lot to 
endure . 10 

Jean Paulhan, a Sadean missionary, is outraged that Sade, a 
significant being, should have been imprisoned for violating shad- 

It seems established that Sade gave a spanking to a whore in 
Paris: does that fit with a year in jail? Some aphrodisiac sweets 
to some girls [sic] in Marseilles: does that justify ten years in the 
Bastille? He seduces his sister-in-law: does that justify a month 
in the Conciergerie? He causes no end of bother. to his 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 83 

powerful, his redoubtable in-laws . . . docs that justify two 
years in a fortress? He enables several moderates to escape (we 
are in the midst of the Terror): does that justify a year in 
Madelonnettes? It is acknowledged that he published some 
obscene books, that he attacked Bonaparte’s entourage; and it is 
not impossible that he feigned madness. Does that justify 
foyrteen years in Charenton, three in Bicete, and one in Sainte- 
Pelagie? Would it not strongly appear as if, for a whole string of 
French governments, any and every excuse sufficed for clap- 
ping him behind bars? 11 

Paulhan cites neither Sade’s actual crimes nor his actual terms of 
imprisonment; his version of the correspondences between the two 
is entirely whimsical. But the consequences of his inexactitude are 
not: Sade the Victim is writ large; Sade’s victims are written out. 

Sade’s biographers attempt to justify, trivialize, or deny (even 
though records confirming the facts exist) every assault Sade ever 
committed against women and girls. Especially, tireless efforts are 
made to discount the kidnapping and torture of Rose Keller, Sade’s 
first nonprostitute victim of record. 

Violence against prostitutes, regardless of its ferocity, is nothing 
less than an acceptable fact of life. W ho, the biographers ask with 
mock wonderment, can deny that these “girls” are there to be used? 
The man’s right to sexual pleasure on his own terms is the given, 
the natural right. Sexual pleasure includes by definition or intrin- 
sically justifies the use of force, trickery, or violence. The cost to 
the prostitute’s health or well-being means nothing. Her own will 
has no value and no claim to value. The use of force against 
prostitutes means less than nothing. Freedom, that hallowed word, 
is valued only when used in reference to male desire. For women, 
freedom means only that men are free to use them. 

In describing what is usually referred to as the Rose Keller 
incident — a sublime euphemism — even Sade’s biographers seem to 
recognize that their hero did do something very mean indeed — 
unless Rose Keller was a whore or a liar, in which case Sade's use of 
her was of no consequence. So they set out to prove that she was 
both, a task made easy not by the truth (she w as neither) but by the 


power of the biographers to define their own terms within the 
accepted bounds of a woman-hating society. Rose Keller was a 
whore because all women, especially working-class women, are 
whores; Rose Keller was a whore because any woman who is 
hungry or unemployed will whore; Rose Keller was a whore 
because there is no absolute proof for every day of her life that she 
was not a whore; Rose Keller was a whore because Sade said she 
was a whore; Rose Keller was a whore because, after being tortured 
and escaping, she accepted money from Sade’s mother-in-law. Rose 
Keller was a liar because all women are liars, especially when they 
accuse men of forcing them to any sexual activity; Rose Keller was a 
liar because Sade said she was a liar; Rose Keller was a liar because 
she accepted money, which proved that she had made up the story 
to obtain money; Rose Keller was a liar because who was she 
anyway compared to the heroic Sade? 

Hobart Ryland, the translator of Sade’s Adelaide of Brunswick into 
English, claimed that Keller u made up a fantastic story.” 12 Geoffrey 
Gorer shed doubt on Keller’s credibility by meticulous analysis of 
detail: “A woman so badly wounded would surely have had some 
difficulty in climbing walls. ” H Thomas acknowledged that 
“(glrievous bodily harm had been done to the young woman,” and 
he sternly admonished that “there was no question of excusing it 
even if she was a whore.” 14 Excusing it nonetheless, Thomas 
characterized Sade’s torture of Keller as “a rather disagreeable hour 
or two, and a few minutes of actual discomfort not far removed in 
degree from a visit to an eighteenth-century dentist.” 11 The money 
made it all worthwhile and “sensible men saw it in perspective and 
knew that it was just an incident.” 16 Ronald Hayman, author of a 
so-called critical biography, strikes the same wretched note: “Scores 
of men were taking their pleasure in very much the same way; 
scores of girls [sic], no doubt, were exploiting the situation for what 
it was worth. Money was an effective pain-killer.” 17 Angela Carter, 
in a recent pseudofeminist literary essay, claims that Keller 
“turn[ed] her hand to blackmail and who can blame her?” 18 Entering 
the realm of literary affectation heretofore reserved for the boys, 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 85 

Carter writes: “The affair enchants me. It has the completeness and 
lucidity of a script by Brecht. A woman of the third estate, a 
beggar, the poorest of the poor, turns the very vices of the rich into 
weapons to wound them with.” '* Her flight of fancy nearly matches 
that of Hay man, who warns: 

Again we should not take it for granted that Sade was 
enjoying himself. Was he even doing what he felt he wanted to 
do? As Gide said: “One can never know to what extent one 
feels and to what extent one plays at feeling. This ambivalence 
constitutes the feeling.” 20 

But it is Roland Barthes who most callously robs Rose Keller of her 
real life in order to sustain Sade’s legend in pretty, if meaningless, 

In the total disengagement from value produced by the pleasure 
of the Text, what I get from Sade’s life is not the spectacle, 
albeit grandiose, of a man oppressed by an entire society 
because of his passion, it is not the solemn contemplation of a 
fate, it is, inter alia , that Provencal way in which Sade says 
“milli” (mademoiselle) Rousset, or milli Henriette, or milli 
Lepinai, it is his white muff when he accosts Rose Keller . . . 2I 

Sade’s white muff matters. 

All of the girls and women hurt by Sade are treated by 
biographers and intellectuals with this same endemic contempt. An 
exchange of money, male to female, especially wipes away crime, 
negates harm — whether the commentator is a pedestrian biographer 
or a grand literary critic. The use of money to buy women is 
apparently mesmerizing. It magically licenses any crime against 
women. Once a woman has been paid, crime is expiated. That no 
real harm was done, no matter what actually was done, is a 
particularly important theme. This point is echoed in the Kinsey 
Institute’s study of sex offenders (see pages 188-198) and in a vast 
body of contemporary social analyses that, explicitly or implicitly, 
define sexual freedom as men doing what they want without foolish 


resistance from “puritanical” or “repressed” women who are 
incapable of knowing or telling sexual truth. According to Gear, the 
poisoned prostitutes in Marseilles had “upset stomachs and were 
none the worse for their adventures.” 22 According to Thomas, the 
Marseilles prostitutes, whom he acknowledges were poisoned, went 
to the police because they “were only too anxious now to find a 
villain on whom all their ills and all official disapproval could be 
placed.” 25 According to Hayman, “it was obvious that the poison- 
ing was accidental . . . [Sade] had no conceivable motive for 
wanting to murder them.” 24 To give credit where it is due: Edmund 
Wilson, in 1952, reacting to the mindless defenses of Sade’s crimes 
among the literati, asserted that “there is not a shred of evidence for 
assuming that [the candies] were not intended, if not to kill the girls 
[sic], at least to have painful results, and the, behavior of Sade 
himself, as reported by one of the girls [sic], seems decidedly to 
show that they were.” 25 Once one has entered the realm of existing 
discourse on Sade, Wilson’s willingness to believe the testimony of 
“one of the girls” is almost shocking. 

The avenging wrath of Sadean sycophants is reserved, however, 
for Madame de Montreuil, Sade’s mother-in-law, the one woman 
who during his lifetime tried to stop him. The critics’ strategy with 
the unpropertied victims is to erase them. Madame de Montreuil 
cannot be erased. She was responsible for Sade’s imprisonment in 
Italy, for the issuance of several lettres de cachet against him. She 
also, at various stages of Sade’s life, tried to buy him out of trouble, 
to reconcile Sade to his marriage and to his wife. As an active 
woman, a mother, one who took action to restrict the cruel 
indulgences of a male, Madame de Montreuil’s life monumentally 
insults Sade’s biographers. According to Gorer, “her one aim was 
de Sade’s destruction.” 26 He also speculates that she was jealous of 
Sade’s relationship with her younger daughter; this jealousy “drove 
her to attack and ruin him to the best of her ability during the next 
thirty years.” 27 According to the various biographers: Madame de 
Montreuil lusted for Sade but he refused her; had nothing to do 
with her time and therefore turned to intrigues against her son-in- 

THE MARQUIS OF SADE (1740-1814) 87 

law; was a vengeful and sadistic woman who chose Sade as her 
victim; had a thin skin and resented the endless gossip about Sade’s 
various atrocities, and therefore tried to have the state murder him; 
lusted after her younger daughter, whom Sade took from her; had 
to marry off her younger daughter, with which Sade interfered; was 
ruthless and evil because women who meddle in the affairs of men 
are. Edmund Wilson demonstrates some charity in stating: “No: 
one cannot blame Sade’s family for locking him up.” 28 But Madame 
de Montreuil, mother of two daughters who were both ruined by 
Sade, caretaker of his children in the years when Renee-Pelagie 
lived with Sade as a participant in his crimes, is not redeemed by 
any critic’s vague sympathy. In the literature on Sade, she is the 
villain, the one who was cruel, the one who abused power, the one 
who was sadistic, the one who was dangerous, the one who should 
have been stopped. 

Throughout the writings on Sade, his own mother and Ren6e- 
Pelagie are insulted in a lethargic and haphazard way. Other 
women were more important to Sade; his literary friends are happy 
to have the same set of priorities. Those incapable of imagining the 
suffering of one who has been kidnapped and tortured, poisoned 
and raped, cannot be expected to grasp the long-term, complex 
suffering of women in legal captivity. Sade’s mother is especially 
blamed for withdrawing into religion. She is also blamed for dying, 
since Sade was arrested when he attempted to visit her on her 
deathbed. Renee-Pelagie is especially blamed for leaving Sade and 
for burning some of his manuscripts, which she may or may not 
have done. She is also blamed for aging, becoming fat, going blind. 
She is also blamed for being sexually repressed, that is, not 
particularly eager to satisfy Sade’s appetites. She is not blamed for 
her years of loyalty to Sade, her efforts to keep him out of prison, 
her attempts to have her mother arrested, or her participation with 
Sade in the sexual and physical torture of five fifteen-year-old girls. 
Sade’s violence against Renee-Pelagie, as opposed to his violence 
against other women, was fully sanctioned by the law. As her 
husband, he had the authority to do what he wanted to her. He also 


had the authority to spend her money, which he did. The savagery 
of his life created the strange desperation of hers. The nightmare of 
her life has been lost in the celebration of his. 

Repeat the syllables 

until the lesson is pumped through the heart: 

Nicriven , accused of lasciviousness , burned 1569. 

Barbara Gobel, described by her jailors 
as “ the fairest maid in Wurzburg , ” 
burned 1629 , age nineteen . 

Frau Feller, raped by Inquisition torturers 
because her sister refused 
the witch-judge Franz Buirman , 1631. 

Maria Walburga Rung , tried at a secular court 
in Manheim as a witch , 
released as “ merely a prostitute " 
accused again by the episcopal court 
at Eichstadt, tortured into confession , 
and then burned alive , 1 723 , age twenty-two. 

What have they done to me? 

Robin Morgan, 

“The Network of the Imaginary Mother” 

Camus captured the essence of Sadc’s legend when he wrote: “His 
desperate demand for freedom led Sade into the kingdom of 
servitude . . .” 29 Throughout the literature on him, with some 
small qualifying asides, Sade is viewed as one whose voracious 
appetite was for freedom; this appetite was cruelly punished by an 
unjust and repressive society. The notion is that Sade, called by 
Apollinaire “that freest of spirits to have lived so far,’ M0 was a 
monster as the word used to be defined: something unnaturally 
marvelous. Sade’s violation of sexual and social boundaries, in his 
writings and in his life, is seen as inherently revolutionary. The 
antisocial character of his sexuality is seen as a radical challenge to a 
society deadly in its repressive sexual conventions. Sade is seen as 
an outlaw in the mythic sense, a grand figure of rebellion'in action 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE ( 1 740-1 8 14) 89 

and in literature whose sexual hunger, like a terrorist’s bomb, 
threatened to blow apart the established order. The imprisonment 
of Sade is seen to demonstrate the despotism of a system that must 
contain, control, and manipulate sexuality, not allow it to run free 
toward anarchic self-fulfillment. Sade is seen as the victim of that 
cruel System, as one who was punished because of the bravery of 
his antagonism to it. The legend of Sade is particularly vitalized by 
the false claim, widely believed, that he rotted in prison for most of 
his life as punishment for obscene writings. Sade’s story is generally 
thought to be this: he was a genius whose mind was too big for the 
petty puritans around him; he was locked up for his sexual 
abandonment, especially in writing; he was kept in jail because 
nothing less could defuse the danger he presented to the established 
order; he was victimized, unjustly imprisoned, persecuted, for 
daring to express radical sexual values in his life and in his writing; 
as u that freest of spirits to have lived so far,” his very being was an 
insult to a system that demanded conformity. It was left to Erica 
Jong to insist in an article in Playboy (“You Have to Be Liberated to 
Laugh”) that Sade was jailed for his sense of humor. 

Writers on Sade are fascinated by both his life and his work, and 
it is impossible to know whether Sade’s legend could have been 
sustained if one had existed without the other. Edmund Wilson, 
repelled by fade’s work, is fascinated by his life. Simone de 
Beauvoir, repelled by Sade’s life, is fascinated by his work. Most of 
the writers on Sade advocate rather than analyze him, are infatuated 
with him as a subject precisely because his sexual obsessions are 
both forbidden and common. The books and essays on Sade are 
crusading, romanticizing, mystifying in the literal sense (that is, 
intentionally perplexing to the mind). Infused with a missionary 
passion, they boil down to this: Sade died for you — for all the 
sexual crimes you have committed, for all the sexual crimes you 
want to commit, for every sexual crime you can imagine commit- 
ting. Sade suffered because he did what you want to do; he was 
imprisoned as you might be imprisoned. The “you” is masculine. 
The freedom Sade is credited with demanding is freedom as men 
conceive it. Sade’s suffering or victimization, whatever its cause or 


degree, is authentic because a man experienced it (Sade in being 
imprisoned, the writers in morbid contemplation of a man brought 
down). No woman’s life has ever been so adored; no woman’s 
suffering has ever been so mourned; no woman’s ethic, action, or 
obsession has been so hallowed in the male search for the meaning 
of freedom.* 

The essential content of Sade’s legend was created by Sade 
himself, especially in his prison letters and in the rambling 
philosophical discourses that permeate his fiction. Maurice Heine, a 
Left libertarian, and his disciple Gilbert L61y, the first so-called 
Sade scholars, rewrote Sade’s elaborate self-justifications, in the 
process transmuting them into accepted fact. Sade wrote his own 
legend; Heine and Lely resurrected it; subsequent writers para- 
phrased, defended, and embellished it. 

In the letters, Sade is militant, with the pride of one martyred in 
righteousness: “Misfortune will never debase me. . . ,” he wrote to 
Renee-Pelagie from Vincennes in 1781. “Nor will / ever take a 
slave’s heart. Were these wretched chains to lead me to the grave, 
you will always see me the same. I have the misfortune to have 
received from Heaven a resolute soul which has never been able to 
yield and will never do so. I have absolutely no fear of offending 
anyone.” 31 

It was Sade who painted the picture of Madame de Montreuil 
that his biographers now turn out, without the master’s touch, by 
the dozens. As Sade wrote: “This terrible torture is not enough 
according to this horrible creature: it has to be increased further by 
everything her imagination can devise to redouble its horror. You 
will admit there is only one monster capable of taking vengeance to 
such a point.” 32 

Sade’s defense of everything he ever did is very simple: he never 
did anything wrong. This defense has two distinct parts. First, he 
did not do anything he was accused of doing that might warrant 

*“[And] no woman’s crime” wrote Robin Morgan to me in a letter, July 20, 
1979, “for that matter, has (sure as hell) ever been so justified, excused, 
romanticized, glamorized.” 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE ( 1740 - 1814 ) 91 

imprisonment, because no one could prove that he did, including 
eyewitnesses whose word could never match his own: “A child’s 
testimony? But this was a servant; thus, in his capactiy as a child 
and as a servant he cannot be believed .” 33 Second, everything he 
had done was common practice. These two contradictory strains of 
self-defense often fuse to reveal the Sade obscured by his mes- 
merized apologists. Here he defends himself, again to his wife, vis- 
i-vis his abuse of the five fifteen-year-old girls originally procured 
by Nanon, who later bore his child: 

I go off with them; I use them. Six months later, some parents 
come along to demand their return. I give them back [he did 
not], and suddenly a charge of abduction and rape is brought 
against me. It is a monstrous injustice. The law on this point is 
... as follows: it is expressly forbidden in France for any 
procuress to supply virgin maidens, and if the girl supplied is a 
virgin and lodges a complaint, it is not the man who is charged 
but the procuress who is punished severely on the spot. But 
even if the male offender has requested a virgin he is not liable 
to punishment: he is merely doing what all men do. It is, I 
repeat, the procuress who provided him with the girl and who 
is perfectly aware that she is expressly forbidden to do so, who 
is guilty. Therefore this first charge against me in Lyon of 
abduction and rape was entirely illegal: I have committed no 
offence. It is the procuress to whom I have applied who is liable 
to punishment — not I . 34 

The use of women, as far as Sade was concerned, was an absolute 
right, one that could not fairly be limited or abrogated under any 
circumstances. His outrage at being punished for his assaults on 
females never abated. His claim to innocence rested finally on a 
simple assertion: “I am guilty of nothing more than simple 
libertinage such as it is practised by all men more or less according 
to their natural temperaments or tendencies .” 35 Sade’s fraternal ties 
were apparent only when he used the crimes of other men to justify 
his own. 

Sade designated “libertinage” as the main theme of his work. 
Richard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse, in a foreword to a 


collection of Sade’s work, point out with grave emphasis that 
“libertine” comes from the Latin liber , which means “free.” In fact, 
originally a libertine was a manumitted slave. Sade’s use of the 
word contradicts its early meaning, despite the claim of his 
sycophantic translators. For Sade, libertinage was the cruel use of 
others for one’s own sexual pleasure. Sade’s libertinage demanded 
slavery; sexual despotism misnamed “freedom” is Sade’s most 
enduring legacy. 

Sade’s work is nearly indescribable. In sheer quantity of horror, 
it is unparalleled in the history of writing. In its fanatical and fully 
realized commitment to depicting and reveling in torture and 
murder to gratify lust, it raises the question so central to pornogra- 
phy as a genre: why? why did someone do (make) this? In Sade’s 
case, the motive most often named is revenge against a society that 
persecuted him. This explanation does not take into account the fact 
that Sade was a sexual predator and that the pornography he 
created was part of that predation. 

It is not adequate to describe Sade’s ethic as rapist. For Sade, 
rape was a modest, not fully gratifying mode of violation. In Sade’s 
work, rape is foreplay, preparation for the main event, which is 
maiming unto death. Rape is an essential dimension because force is 
fundamental to Sade’s conception of sexual action. But over time, 
with repetition, it pales, becomes boring, a stupendous waste of 
energy unless accompanied by the torture, and often the murder, of 
the victim. Sade is the consummate literary snuff artist: orgasm 
eventually requires murder. Victims are sliced up, impaled on 
stakes, burned alive, roasted slowly on spits, eaten, decapitated, 
flayed until they die. Women’s vaginas and rectums are sewn up to 
be torn through. Women are used as tables on which burning food 
is served, on which candles are burned. One would require the 
thousands of pages Sade himself used to list the atrocities he 
described. Nevertheless, some themes emerge. 

In Sade’s fiction, men, women, boys and girls are used, violated, 
destroyed. At the top, in control, are the libertines, mostly old 
men, aristocrats, powerful by virtue of gender, wealth, position, 
and cruelty. Sade describes the sexuality of these men essentially as 

THE MARQUIS DF SADK (1740-1814) 93 

addiction: each sex act contributes to the development of a 
tolerance; that is, arousal requires more cruelty each time, orgasm 
requires more cruelty each time; victims must increase in abjectness 
and numbers both. Everyone inferior to the aristocrats on top in 
wealth, in social status, or in her or his capacity for cruelty becomes 
sexual' fodder. Wives, daughters, and mothers are particularly 
singled out for ridicule, humiliation, and contempt. Servants of 
both sexes and female prostitutes are the main population of the 
abused, dismembered, executed. Lesbian acts decorate the slaugh- 
ter; they are imagined by a man for men; they are so male-imagined 
that the divine fuck imbued with murder is their only possible 

In the bulk of Sade’s work, female victims greatly outnumber 
male victims, but his cruelty is all-inclusive. He manifests a 
pansexual dominance — the male who knows no boundaries but still 
hates women more. 

While the aristocrats on top are never maimed, they are, at their 
own command, whipped and sodomized. They remain entirely in 
control even when whipped or sodomized. Everything done to 
them or by them is for the purpose of bringing them to orgasm on 
their own terms. Sade established impotence as a characteristic of 
the aging libertine: viler and viler crimes are necessary to achieve 
erection and ejaculation. George Steiner, perhaps to his credit, fails 
to appreciate the significance of the progression of lust in Sade’s 
work, especially in The 120 Days of Sodom: “In short: given the 
physiological and nervous complexion of the human body, the 
numbers of ways in which orgasm can be achieved or arrested, the 
total modes of intercourse are fundamentally finite. The mathema- 
tics of sex stop somewhere in the region of soixante-neuf; there are no 
transcendental series.’” 6 Displaying his own brand of misogyny, 
Steiner goes on to say that “things have remained fairly generally 
the same since man first met goat and woman.” ” But Sade is saying 
precisely that men become sated too soon with what they have had, 
whatever it is, especially woman, also goat. 

In Sade’s fiction, the men on top exchange and share victims in an 
attempt to forge a community based on a common, if carnivorous. 


sexuality. The shared victim results in the shared orgasm, a bond 
among the male characters and between the author and his male 

The men on top also share the shit of the victims. They control 
elimination and physical cleanliness, a stratagem that suggests the 
Nazi death camps. They eat turds and control the diets of their 
victims to control the quality of the turds. While Freudian values 
apply here — the anal being indicative of greed, of obsession with 
material wealth — excrement, like blood, like flesh itself, is ingested 
because these men have gone beyond vampirism toward a sexuality 
that is entirely cannibalistic. 

Much is made of the fact that two of Sade’s main characters, 
Justine and Juliette, are women. Juliette especially is cited as an 
emancipated woman because she takes to maiming and murder with 
all the spectacular ease of Sade’s male characters; she is the one who 
knows how to take pleasure, how to transform pain into pleasure, 
slavery into freedom. It is, Sade’s literary friends claim, a matter of 
attitude : here we have Justine, raped, tortured, violated, and she 
hates it, so she is a victim; here we have Juliette, raped, tortured, 
violated, and she loves it, so she is free. As expressed by Roland 

The scream is the victim’s mark; she makes herself a victim 
because she chooses to scream; if, under the same vexation she 
were to ejaculate [sicj> she would cease to be a victim, would be 
transformed into a libertine: to scream/to discharge , this paradigm 
is the beginning of choice, i.e. Sadian meaning .’ 8 

“Sadian meaning,” then, reduces to the more familiar preachment: 
if you can’t do anything about it (and I will see to it that you 
cannot), lie back and enjoy it. In the critical writings on Sade’s 
pornography, rape in the criminal sense exists mainly as a 
subjective value judgment of the one who was used, to whom 
hysteria is always attributed. Women, according to Sade, Barthes, 
and their ilk, can and should choose to experience the rape of 
women as men experience it: as pleasure. 

TIIE MARQUIS DE SADE ( 1 740 - 1 8 14 ) 95 

Sade’s view of women was hailed by Apollinaire as prophetic: 
“Justine is woman as she has been hitherto, enslaved, miserable and 
less than human; her opposite, Juliette, represents the woman 
whose advent he anticipated, a figure of whom minds have as yet no 
conception, who is arising out of mankind, who shall have wings, 
and who shall renew the world. 

Justine and Juliette are the two prototypical female figures in 
male pornography of all types. Both are wax dolls into which things 
are stuck. One suffers and is provocative in her suffering. The more 
she suffers, the more she provokes men to make her suffer. Her 
suffering is arousing; the more she suffers, the more aroused her 
torturers become. She, then, becomes responsible for her suffering, 
since she invites it by suffering. The other revels in all that men do 
to her; she is the woman who likes it, no matter what the “it.” In 
Sade, the “attitude” (to use Barthes’s word) on which one’s status as 
victim or master depends is an attitude toward male power. The 
victim actually refuses to ally herself with male power, to take on its 
values as her own. She screams, she refuses. Men conceptualize this 
resistance as conformity to ridiculous feminine notions about purity 
and goodness; whereas in fact the victim refuses to ally herself with 
those who demand her complicity in her own degradation. Degra- 
dation is implicit in inhabiting a predetermined universe in which 
one cannot choose what one does, only one’s attitude (to scream, to 
discharge) toward what is done to one. Unable to manifest her 
resistance as power, the woman who suffers manifests it as 
passivity, except for the scream. 

The so-called libertine re-creates herself in the image of the 
crudest (most powerful) man she can find and in her alliance with 
him takes on some of his power over others. The female libertines 
in Sade’s work are always subordinate to their male counterparts, 
always dependent on them for wealth and continued good health. 
They have female anatomies by fiat; that is, Sade says so. In every 
other respect — values, behaviors, tastes, even in such a symptoma- 
tic detail as ejaculating sperm, which they all do — Sade’s libertine 
women are men. They are, in fact, literary transvestites. 


Sade himself, in a footnote to Juliette , claimed an authenticity for 
Juliette based on his conviction that women are more malevolent 
than men: u . . . the more sensitive an individual, the more sharply 
this atrocious Nature will bend him into conformance with evil’s 
irresistible laws; whence it is that women surrender to it more 
heatedly and perform it with greater artistry than men .” 40 The 
message that women are evil and must be punished permeates 
Sade’s work, whether the female figures in question are supposed to 
represent good or evil. The vileness of women and an intense hatred 
of female genitalia are major themes in every Sadean opus. Both 
male and female characters evince a deep aversion to and loathing of 
the vagina. Anal penetration is not only preferred; often the vagina 
must be hidden for the male to be aroused at all. Sade’s female 
libertines are eloquent on the inferiority of the vagina to the rectum. 
While boys and men are used in Sade’s lust murders, women are 
excoriated for all the characteristics that distinguish them from 
men. In Sade’s scheme of things, women are aggressively slaugh- 
tered because women are repulsive as both biological and emotional 
beings. The arrogance of women in claiming any rights over their 
own bodies is particularly offensive to Sade. Any uppity pretense to 
bodily integrity on a woman’s part must be fiercely and horribly 
punished. Even where Sade, in one or two places, insists on 
women’s right to abort pregnancies at will, his sustained celebration 
of abortion as erotically charged murder places abortion squarely 
within the context of his own utterly and unredeemably male value 
system: in this system, women have no bodily rights. 

A religious scholar, John T. Noonan, Jr., names Sade as “the 
first in Western Europe to praise abortion . . .” 41 Citing Noonan, 
Linda Bird Francke, in The Ambivalence of Abortion , claims that 
Sade’s advocacy of abortion was instrumental in the papal decision 
that abortion must be prohibited from gestation on. Characterizing 
Sade’s work as part of the proabortion movement, she asserts that 
Sade “actually extolled the values of abortion .” 42 Sade extolled the 
sexual value of murder and he saw abortion as a form of murder. 
For Sade, abortion was a sexual act, an act of lust. In his system, 
pregnancy always demanded murder, usually the murder* of the 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE (1740-1814) 97 

pregnant woman, rendered more exciting if she was in an advanced 
stage of pregnancy. Nothing could be calculated to please Sade 
more than the horrible deaths of women butchered in illegal 
abortions. This is Sade’s sexuality realized. 

In Sade’s work, both male and female children are maimed, 
raped, t tortured, killed. Men especially go after their daughters, 
sometimes raising them specifically to become paramours, most 
often abusing them and then passing them on to close male friends 
to be used and killed. Sade’s obsession with sexual violence against 
children of both sexes is transformed by his literary lackeys, true to 
form, into another demonstration of Sade’s progressive sexual 
radicalism. As Geoffrey Gorer wrote: “According to de Sade, very 
young children are shameless, sexually inquisitive and endowed 
with strong sexual feelings. Children are naturally polymorphous 
perverts.”*’ Actually, according to Sade, adult men find it par- 
ticularly gratifying to kidnap, rape, torture, and kill children. 

Sade is concerned too with the violation of the mother — not only 
as wife to her husband but also as victim of her children. A constant 
conceit throughout Sade’s fiction is that fathers are wondrous sexual 
beings, mothers stupid and repressed prudes who would be better 
off as whores (or as the whores they really are). As a philosopher, 
Sade maintains consistently that one owes nothing to one’s mother, 
for the father is the source of human life: 

... Be unafraid, Eugenie [the heroine], and adopt these same 
sentiments; they are natural: uniquely formed of our sires’ 
blood, we owe absolutely nothing to our mothers. What, 
furthermore, did they do but co-operate in the act which our 
fathers, on the contrary, solicited? Thus, it was the father who 
desired our birth, whereas the mother merely consented 

Contempt for the mother is an integral part of Sade’s discourse: 

It is madness to suppose one owes something to one’s mother. 
And upon what, then, would gratitude be based? Is one to be 
thankful that she discharged [sic] when someone once fucked 
her? 4 ’ 


A daughter’s turning on her mother, forcing her mother to submit 
to rape and torture, defaming and debasing her mother, and finally 
luxuriating in the killing of her mother is a crucial Sadean scenario. 

Sade’s ideas on women and sexual freedom are explicated 
throughout his work. He has few ideas about women and sexual 
freedom and no fear of repetition. Women are meant to be 
prostitutes: . . your sex never serves Nature better than when it 

prostitutes itself to ours; that ’tis, in a word, to be fucked that you 
were bom . . In rape a man exercises his natural rights over 

If then it becomes incontestable that we have received from 
Nature the right indiscriminately to express our wishes to all 
women, it likewise becomes incontestable that we have the 
right to compel their submission, not exclusively, for I should 
then be contradicting myself, but temporarily [the doctrine of 
“nonpossessiveness”]. It cannot be denied that we have the 
right to decree laws that compel woman to yield to the flames of 
him who would have her; violence itself being one of that 
right’s effects, we can employ it lawfully . 47 

Sade pioneered what became the ethos of the male-dominated 
sexual revolution: collective ownership of women by men, no 
woman ever justified in refusal. Sade took these ideas to their logical 
conclusion: state brothels in which all females would be forced to 
serve from childhood on. The idea of unrestricted access to an 
absolutely available female population, there to be raped, to which 
one could do anything, has gripped the male imagination, especially 
on the Left, and has been translated into the euphemistic demand 
for “free sex, free women.” The belief that this urge toward 
unrestrained use of women is revolutionary brings into bitter focus 
the meaning of “sexual freedom” in leftist sexual theory and 
practice. Sade says: use women because women exist to be used by 
men; do what you want to them for your own pleasure, no matter 
what the cost to them. Following leftist tradition, Peter Weiss, in 
the play known as Marat! Sade, paraphrased Sade in this happily 

THE MARQUIS DE SADE ( 1740 - 1814 ) 99 

disingenuous way: “And what's the point of a revolution/without 
general copulation .” 48 

In a variation of leftist theme, Christopher Lasch, in The Culture 
of Narcissism , sees Sade not as the originator of a new ethic of sexual 
collectivity, but as one who foresaw the fall of the bourgeois family 
with its “sentimental cult of womanhood ” 49 and the fall of capital- 
ism itself. According to Lasch, Sade anticipated a “defense of 
woman’s [sic] sexual rights — their rights to dispose of their own 
bodies, as feminists would put it today ... He perceived, more 
clearly than the feminists, that all freedoms under capitalism come 
in the end to the same thing, the same universal obligation to enjoy 
and be enjoyed .” 50 Lasch’s particular, and peculiar, interpretation 
of Sade appears to derive from his stubborn misunderstanding of 
sexual integrity as feminists envision it. In Sade’s universe, the 
obligation to enjoy is extended to women as the obligation to enjoy 
being enjoyed — failing which, sex remains what it was, as it was: a 
forced passage to death. The notion that Sade presages feminist 
demands for women’s sexual rights is rivaled in self-serving 
absurdity only by the opinion of Gerald and Caroline Greene, in 
S-M: The Last Taboo , that “[i]f there was one thing de Sade was not, 
it was a sexist .” 51 

De Beauvoir had understood that “[t]he fact is that the original 
intuition which lies at the basis of Sade’s entire sexuality, and hence 
his ethic, is the fundamental identity of coition and cruelty .” 52 
Camus had understood that “[t]wo centuries ahead of time and on a 
reduced scale [compared to Stalinists and Nazis], Sade extolled 
totalitarian societies in the name of unbridled freedom . . .” 5J 
Neither they nor Sade’s less conscientious critics perceived that 
Sade’s valuation of women has been the one constant in history — 
imagined and enacted — having as its consequence the destruction of 
real lives; that Sade’s advocacy and celebration of rape and battery 
have been history’s sustaining themes. Sade’s spectacular endurance 
as a cultural force has been because of, not despite, the virulence of 
the sexual violence toward women in both his work and his life. 
Sade’s work embodies the common values and desires of men. 
Described in terms of its “excesses,” as it often is, the power of 


Sade’s work in exciting the imaginations of men is lost. Nothing in 
Sade’s work takes place outside the realm of common male belief. In 
story and discourse, Sade’s conception of romance is this: “I’ve 
already told you: the only way to a woman’s heart is along the path 
of torment. I know none other as sure .” 54 Sade’s conception of 
sexuality is this: 

. . . there is no more selfish passion than lust; none that is 
severer in its demands; smitten stiff by desire, ’tis with yourself 
you must be solely concerned, and as for the object that serves 
you, it must always be considered as some sort of victim, 
destined to that passion’s fury. Do not all passions require 
victims ? 55 

These convictions are ordinary, expressed often in less grand 
language, upheld in their rightness by the application of male- 
supremacist law especially in the areas of rape, battery, and 
reproduction; they are fully consonant with the practices (if not the 
preachments) of ordinary men with ordinary women. Had Sade’s 
work — boring, repetitive, ugly as it is — not embodied these com- 
mon values, it would long ago have been forgotten. Had Sade 
himself— a sexual terrorist, a sexual tyrant — not embodied in his 
life these same values, he would not have excited the twisted, self- 
righteous admiration of those who have portrayed him as revolu- 
tionary, hero, martyr (or, in the banal prose of Richard Gilman, 
“the first compelling enunciator in modern times of the desire to be 
other than what society determined, to act otherwise than existing 
moral structures coerced one into doing” 56 ). 

Sade’s importance, finally, is not as dissident or deviant: it is as 
Everyman, a designation the power-crazed aristocrat would have 
found repugnant but one that women, on examination, will find 
true. In Sade, the authentic equation is revealed: the power of the 
pornographer is the power of the rapist/batterer is the power of the 



The creation of a rich and dependable object 
world; the building-in of secure sequences of be- 
havioral time; the comfortable mastery of space; firm 
links between the acting organism and the external 
world; all of these add up to solid answers to our four 
common human problems. “What shall I do? What 
may I hope? What can I know? What is man?” 

, Ernest Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry 

I was so drunk all the time that I took bottles for girls 
and girls for bottles. 

Anton Chekhov, in a letter, April 25, 1887 

A sex toy is anything that isn’t you when you’re 
having whatever it is you define as sex. 

Ian Young, quoted in “Devices and Desires,” 
by Gerald Hannon, The Body Politic 

There is something every woman wears around her 
neck on a thin chain of fear — an amulet of madness. 
For each of us, there exists somewhere a moment of 
insult so intense that she will reach up and rip the 
amulet off, even if the chain tears at the flesh of her 

Robin Morgan, “Goodbye to All That,” 
Going Too Far 

Through most of patriarchal history, which is estimated variously 
to have lasted (thus far) five thousand to twelve thousand years, 
women have been chattel property. Chattel property, in the main. 



is movable property — cattle, wives, concubines, offspring, slaves, 
beasts of burden, domesticated animals. Chattel property is reck- 
oned as part of a man’s estate. It is wealth and accumulations of it 
both are wealth and demonstrate wealth. Chattel property for the 
most part is animate and sensate, but it is perceived and valued as 
commodity. To be chattel, even when human, is to be valued and 
used as property, as thing. 

It is fashionable to think that women, who have come a long way, 
baby, are entirely removed from chattel status. It is fashionable to 
think that the chattel status of women is ancient, buried with the 
old cities of defunct civilizations. But in the United States and 
England, married women were economic chattel through most of 
the nineteenth century. Married women were allowed to own 
property — which meant that they themselves were considered 
persons, not property — toward the end of the nineteenth century, 
but that right was made effectual only in the first decades of the 
twentieth century. In some states in the United States, married 
women still cannot engage in some economic transactions without 
the consent or participation of their husbands. 

In the areas of sex and reproduction, the chattel status of women 
is preserved in law and in practice. A married woman is obligated to 
engage in coitus with her husband. He, not she, controls access to 
her body. With few exceptions, a married woman cannot be raped 
by her husband as rape is legally defined, because marriage means 
that the husband has a legal right to coital access. When women 
were clearly and unambiguously sexual chattel, the wife could be 
“chastised” by her husband at will — whipped, flogged, caned, hit, 
tied up, locked up — to punish her for real or imagined bad behavior 
or to improve her character. The bad behavior, then as now, was 
often an attempt to refuse the husband sexual access. The English 
suffragists thought a new era had arrived when, in 1891, a court set 
limits to the force a husband could use against his wife. As Sylvia 
Pankhurst recorded: 

The Jackson case of 1891, described by the Law Times as “the 

Married Woman’s Charter of personal liberty,” wherein it was 


decided that a husband might not imprison his wife to enforce 
his conjugal rights, was eagerly hailed, and was an evidence of 
the change which was coming over opinion in general.' 

But the general opinion did not change, not in England, not in the 
United, States. Today there are laws against battery, which so often 
includes both captivity and rape: unenforced laws. In practice, 
assault and battery of a wife by a husband is both commonplace and 
protected by a male-supremacist system that, in its heart of hearts, 
still views the wife’s body as her husband’s sexual property; and, 
needless to say, the rape part of any battery is almost never against 
the law at all. Using FBI statistics, feminists calculate that in the 
United States one woman is raped every three minutes, one wife 
battered every eighteen seconds. There are currently an estimated 
twenty-eight million battered wives in the United States. In 
thirteen states, the right of marital rape has been extended by 
statute to cohabitation. In five of those states, a man who rapes a so- 
called voluntary social companion is partially protected by statute. In 
one of those states, West Virginia, he is fully protected. In only 
three states is the right of a husband to rape fully abrogated. The 
right to obtain an abortion at will, defined as a right of privacy by 
the United States Supreme Court in 1973, has been limited in some 
states by a requirement of male consent, despite a subsequent 1976 
Supreme Court decision holding that no one has a right to exercise 
veto power over a woman’s decision to abort. The chattel status of 
women, especially married women, is not yet dead. It is not even 
vestigial, some useless and unusable remain which long ago lost its 
function or importance. It is still central in fixing male sexual and 
reproductive control of women. 

With this formidable history and ongoing reality of women as 
sexual property, it is not surprising that men conspicuously view 
themselves as authentic persons and the others clustered around 
them, especially their sexual intimates, especially women and 
children, as objects. 

The tradition of regarding sensate beings as objects is now 
particularly honored, even enforced, in psychiatry and psychology. 


The whole world outside man himself is viewed as the object 
world, a series of things to which man/men must learn to relate. 
This project of learning to relate to objects outside himself is, 
needless to say, awesomely difficult but nevertheless necessary 
because, as Ernest Becker, a so-called humanist in the realm of 
psychology, puts it: 44 . . . we know that man needs objects in order 
to come into being as an organism, and subsequently in order to 
provide for continuing action and experience. The organism needs 
objects in order to feel its own powers and presence .” 2 Man, the 
organism in question, uses objects — women, children, animals 
(cattle are still important — the myth of the cowboy), sensate beings 
called objects as a matter of course — to feel bis own power and 
presence. The use of the word object to characterize persons who are 
not adult men is considered normative and appropriate. Psychol- 
ogists do not make a distinction between men who relate to persons 
as such and men who relate to persons as objects. Instead, they 
consider it appropriate to relate to some persons as objects, 
inappropriate to relate to other persons as objects, and inappropri- 
ate to relate to some objects as sexual objects. One of the reasons 
that male homosexuality is so disreputable in the realm of psychol- 
ogy is that it is deemed inappropriate for a man to relate to another 
man as an object, the only sexual response possible in the male 
sexual system as it now stands. A man must function as the human 
center of a chattel-oriented sensibility, surrounded by objects to be 
used so that he can experience his own power and presence. He 
must not reduce himself to the level of women, for instance, by 
becoming an object for another man. This degrades the whole male 
sex, which is inappropriate. 

The notion that appropriate responses to appropriate objects 
signify the mentally healthy male enables Becker to write: 

. . . the schizophrenic, who relates to people only on the basis 
of their sex, is not showing a hypersexuality so much as a 
poverty in the behavioral range: he reduces the object to that 
aspect with which he can cope . 1 

Though Becker suggests that viewing women merely as vaginas is 
not wonderful, the nearly universal reduction of women to sex 


(“that aspect with which he can cope”) in psychology or in high 
culture or among his peers does not, apparently, indicate a poverty 
of behavior. Becker himself, of course, does not show a poverty of 
behavior in reducing persons to objects because that is normal, 
neutral, and not reductive. “One’s whole life,” Becker claims, “is an 
education in broadening his range of behavior to objects. So, too, 
Christopher Lasch characterizes the contemporary run of patients 
seen by psychologists as shallow because of their inadequate 
response to objects: 

These patients, though often ingratiating, tend to cultivate a 
protective shallowness in emotional relations. They lack the 
capacity to mourn, because the intensity of their rage against 
lost love objects, in particular against their parents, prevents 
their reliving happy experiences or treasuring them in mem- 

Lasch himself, of course, is not shallow in regarding loved persons, 
in particular one’s parents, as “love objects.” The mourning of a lost 
object does not seem to Lasch either shallow or futile. 

The first object in a male’s personal history and in cultural 
importance is the mother. It is in properly internalizing her as an 
object that the male learns everything from heterosexuality to 
heterosexuality (homosexuality being generally regarded as a failure 
to learn), including: how to be a separate human being, that is, how 
to separate from the first object; how to possess suitable objects that 
are appropriate substitutes for the first object; and what to expect 
from an object by way of care and devotion, including being kept 
clean, fed, groomed, smiled at, and humored. According to Mahler, 
Pine, and Bergman, who use the standard vocabulary: “The 
establishment of affective (emotional) object constancy depends 
upon the gradual internalization of a constant, positively <a thee ted, 
inner image of the mother .” 6 The inability “to use the mother as a 
real external object as a basis for developing a stable sense of 
separateness from, and relatedness to, the world of reality ” 7 may 
well be responsible for psychosis (autism and schizophrenia) in 
children. Even when the first object does her duty and by divine 
grace manages to get the infant positively cathected to an inner 


image of her while being an external reality from which he can 
separate and through which he can relate to the whole world of 
reality, still, according to Becker, the infant/he will not be happy: 
“The infant’s long period of helpless dependence fills him with one 
great anxiety: the anxiety of object-loss, the fear of losing the 
succoring maternal object .” 8 This clarifies, at least, the sense in 
which the object is alive: she is an object that/who succors, which, 
in its Latin past, meant “runs to help.” He is afraid that he will lose 
the object that runs to help: and here one finds the chattel sense of 
motherhood as it resonates in the modem realm of male-suprema- 
cist psychology — she is the first object that belongs to the male in 
his life, movable property that runs to help. 

Like any human chattel without a revolution in which to fight, 
her rebellions will be personal, small, sometimes mean, and 
relatively ineffectual. Since the infant/he is dependent on her — as 
masters are on servants and slaves — she will subvert her male 
child’s rights over her, his very masculinity, to make him less her 
master and more her equal. The indignity implicit in the futile 
effort of this actual adult to establish an equal authenticity with 
the infant dependent on her should be obvious. She will have 
the bizarre idea that she is an adult person, an idea that pro- 
hibits the demands of service required of her as a mother in a male- 
supremacist context. She will perhaps think that the child, as he 
grows, will come to know and love her for herself, for her own 
qualities as a person. But the father and/or the society built on his 
real power will step in and destroy the subversion inherent in this 
idea by requiring her son to define himself in opposition to her, as 
her opposite. He cannot have her qualities; she cannot have his. if 
he is to be a person, she must be regarded as an object. She will be 
damned and cursed for any attempt, small or large, to step outside 
the bounds of this valuation of her; and the boy will be encouraged 
to carry out the male revenge on her. As Bettelheim counsels: 

There is no need for the child to repress [revenge] fantasies; 
on the contrary, he can enjoy them to the fullest, if he is subtly 
guided to direct them to a target which is close enough to the 


true parent but clearly not his parent. What more suitable 
object of vengeful thoughts than the person who has usurped 
the parent’s place: the fairy-story step-parent? If one vents 
vicious fantasies of revenge against such an evil usurper, there 
is no reason to feel guilty or need to fear retaliation, because 
that figure clearly deserves it. . . . Thus, the fairy story 
permits the child to have the best of both worlds; he can fully 
engage in and enjoy revenge fantasies about the step-parent of 
the story, without any guilt or fear in respect to the true 
parent . 9 

Notice the incredible obfuscation of gender: which fairy tales 
involve a wicked stepfather? The male child is encouraged to learn 
that the mothering female is wicked and is a “suitable object of 
vengeful thoughts”; he is encouraged to enjoy fantasies of revenge 
against this figure who is more like his mother than she is like 
anyone else; ideally, he will not feel guilt or fear. The strategy 
endorsed by Bettelheim with reference to fairy tales is basic to 
children’s stories of all sorts: the male child is taught to experience 
his mother not as she is but as an object with symbolic meaning. 
The adult male never seems to move beyond the boy enjoying his 
fantasies of revenge on a female object, except in one respect: he 
acts, using real women. Still calling revenge fantasy, he acts. 

The way in which the adult male acts was described with sublime 
understatement and delicacy by pseudofeminist Havelock Ellis: 
“She is, on the physical side, inevitably the instrument in love; it 
must be his hand and his bow which evoke the music .” 10 Rabid 
antifeminists Ferdinand Lundberg and Marynia F. Farnham make 
the same point with less elegance: 

Here, we should again like to point out to female egalitarians, 
is a good place to ponder this fact: for the male, sex involves an 
objective act of his doing but for the female it does not. As an 
act in which he is playing the leading role (leading, that is, 
within the confines of the copulatory process) it is both 
superficially and deeply important to the male that it be carried 
out without faltering. Any failure to carry through the act is bis 
failure, not the woman’s. Her role is passive. It is not as easy as 


falling off a log for her. It is easier. It is as easy as being the log 
itself. 1 1 

Does one (female) prefer to be perhaps a violin or definitely a log? 
This is the range of choice. It is also the range of political difference 
in the sexual philosophies of “profeminist” and antifeminist psy- 
chologists: one side insists that in the physical act of love a woman 
is an unspecified stringed instrument; the other side insists that in 
the copulatory process a woman is a log. Male-defined discourse is 
full of such knotty and poignant disputes. 

Note too that the male commits an objective act. Men are able to 
be objective, an exalted capacity, precisely because they are not 
objects. To be objective means that one knows the world, sees it as 
it is, acts on the objects in it appropriately. Objectivity by 
definition requires a capacity to know, an ability to see. Women, 
the logs at issue, cannot be objective or act objectively because 
objects do not see or know. A log does not cognize. A log is what it 
is — a log. A log that resists being rolled is a log that does not know 
its nature or its place. A log that resists being rolled by definition is 
not a log. A woman who resists being a log is by definition not a 

Is it any wonder, then, that a hypothetical freshman conjured up 
by Becker in The Revolution in Psychiatry is somewhat confused. He 
is courting “the attractive blonde in his English class”; he is having 
trouble responding to her “as a total organismic behavioral object”; 
it is likely “that Playboy magazine had provided him with a sufficient 
vocabulary and imagery of what girls ‘are like* (if his red-blooded 
American interests were along these lines)”; even though Playboy 
has given him an accurate idea “of what a girl is like,” only his “own 
dependable response pattern . . . can convey the real meaning of 
‘girl.’” 12 And if Playboy has given him a sufficient and accurate 
vocabulary and imagery of what a girl (sic) is like, when he conquers 
his trouble in responding to her as a total organismic behavioral 
object, what will he do and what will she be? Hannah Tillich gave 
the emblematic answer; 

In Paris, Paulus took me to a street that had what looked at 
first like the window displays in one of the big Fifth Avenue 


department stores. But the dummies in different outfits were 
human beings. I was intrigued. This was the dream street of 
male desire and female submission. Here was the simply 
dressed girl looking like a neighbor or the sleeping beauty in 
pink veils; here was the girl with high boots and a whip or the 
lady in violet velvet; here was the girl begging for punishment. 
It was a window into hidden truth." 

The advantage of the living dummy over the inert kind was 
expressed by the French eroticist Theophile Gautier in his naughty 
novel, Mademoiselle de Maupin, first published in 1835. The poet- 
protagonist D’ Albert says: “A woman possesses this unquestionable 
advantage over a statue, that she turns of herself in the direction 
you wish, whereas you are obliged to walk round the statue and 
place yourself at the point of sight — which is fatiguing.” 14 A 
woman, D’ Albert claims, is “a toy which is more intelligent than if 
it were ivory or gold,” this superior intelligence demonstrated in the 
fact that it “gets up of itself if we let it fall.”" 

The inevitable and intrinsic cruelty involved in turning a person 
into an object should be apparent, but since this constricting, this 
undermining, this devaluing, is normative, no particular cruelty is 
recognized in it. Instead, there is only normal and natural cruelty — 
the normal and natural sadism of the male, happily complemented 
by the normal and natural masochism of the female. Each psychol- 
ogist puts this view forth in his own quiet, unassuming way. 
Anthony Storr, considered an expert on violence, suggests that “[i]t 
is probably true that men are generally more ‘sadistic’ and women 
more masochistic.’ . . . there are many women who nag unmer- 
cifully in the hope that their man will finally treat them with the 
force that they find exciting.” “ The object is allowed to desire if she 
desires to be an object: to be formed; especially to be used. The log 
can desire to be cut down to size, chopped, rolled, burned: formed 
and used in ways appropriate to its nature. As Anthony M. 
Ludovici wrote in response to the first wave of feminism: 

... I cannot uphold the view that Woman has any destiny to 
work out for herself. She has no "true Womanhood” that has 
yet to be sought and tound while we leave her alone. We cannot 


leave her alone. The moment we leave her alone she ceases to 
be true Woman: where, then, could she go alone to seek and 
find her “true Womanhood”? 17 

This same view was expressed with rawer passion by Otto 
Weininger in Sex and Character * (1903), an influential book in pre- 
Hitler Europe that equated women and Jews as worthless, lying, 
cheating, deceiving. While he has since been surpassed as an anti- 
Semite by the men whom he influenced, he still holds his own as a 

When man became sexual he formed woman. That woman is at 
all has happened simply because man has accepted his sex- 
uality. Woman is merely the result of this affirmation; she is 
sexuality itself. Woman’s existence is dependent on man; when 
man, as man, in contradistinction to woman, is sexual, he is 
giving woman form, calling her into existence. 18 

The unembodied woman apparently described by Weininger — she 
does not exist until man calls her into existence — is not really 
unembodied, just truncated: “To put it bluntly, man possesses 
sexual organs; her sexual organs possess woman.” 1 ’ To put it more 
bluntly: she is cunt, formed by men, used by men, her sexual 
organs constituting her whole being and her whole value. 

And what is the value of this sexual object to men, since it is they 
who form her, use her, and give her what value she has? The 
pioneering male masochist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, who spent 
most of his life bullying bewildered women into wearing furs and 
halfheartedly whipping him, candidly wrote in his diary that “my 
cruel ideal woman is for me simply the instrument by which I 
terrorise myself.” 20 The nature of the act does not change the nature 
of the act: the female is the instrument; the male is the center of 

* Freud considered the book “remarkable” and its author “highly gifted but 
sexually deranged.” Cf. Two Case Histories , vol. 10, The Standard Edition of 
the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud , eds. and trans. James 
Strachey and Anna Freud (London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho- 
Analysis, 1962), p. 36n. 

OBJF.CTS 1 1 1 

sensibility and power. Roland Barthes, with himself as the lover, 
essentially endorses the same view of the object’s value and 

Enough that, in a flash, I should see the other in the guise of an 
inert object, like a kind of stuffed doll, for me to shift my desire 
from this annulled object to my desire itself; it is my desire I 
desire, and the loved being is no more than its tool . 21 

The object’s purpose is to be the means by which the lover, the 
male, experiences himself: his desire. Girls, who also play with 
dolls, only learn to change diapers or arrange hair. 

The object, the woman, goes out into the world formed as men 
have formed her to be used as men wish to use her. She is then a 
provocation. The object provokes its use. It provokes its use 
because of its form, determined by the one who is provoked. The 
carpenter makes a chair, sits on it, then blames the chair because he 
is not standing. When the object complains about the use to which 
she is put, she is told, simply and firmly, not to provoke. 
Antifeminist H. L. Mencken, in a response to the first wave of 
feminism, offered this generous solution: 

The way to put an end to the gaudy crimes that the suffragist 
alarmists talk about is to shave the heads of all the pretty girls in 
the world, and pluck out their eyebrows, and pull their teeth, 
and put them in khaki, and forbid them to wriggle on dance- 
floors, or to wear scents, or to use lip-sticks, or to roll their 
eyes . 22 

James Brain, an anthropologist who supports the second wave of 
feminism, asserts that women’s bodies in themselves 

can seem to be signaling their readiness for sex at any time — a 
problem to which no one has any totally adequate answer, 
unless one considers the orthodox Muslim solution of com- 
pletely covering a woman from head to foot in enveloping black 
garments to be one. 2 * 


Brain is absolutely clear that u [r]ape can never be condoned, 
excused, or justified. On the other hand, woman [sic] should realize 
the powerful effect that their clothes have in stimulating male sexual 
interests .” 24 The wide wide world of male ideas again astonishes. 

But it is left to Norman Mailer to proclaim the true nature and 
power of women who are made, not born: in particular, to focus on, 
explicate, and enthuse about the extraordinary tribute inherent in 
being used as a cunt (if and only if one is a woman) by a man. 
Mailer finds this tribute most exhilarating and indelible in the world 
of Henry Miller: 

In all of [Miller’s] faceless, characterless, pullulating broads, in 
all those cunts which undulate with the movements of eels, in 
all those clearly described broths of soup and grease and 
marrow and wine which are all he will give us of them — their 
cunts are always closer to us than their faces — in all the 
indignities of position, the humiliation of situation, and the 
endless presentation of women as pure artifacts of farce, their 
asses all up in the air, still he screams his barbaric yawp of utter 
adoration for the power and the glory and the grandeur of the 
female in the universe, and it is his genius to show us that this 
power is ready to survive any context or abuse . 25 

The power Mailer refers to is the power to excite lust, to provoke 
the fuck, especially the power to cause erection: the appropriate 
sphere of power for a cunt, whether in the air or on the ground. For 
the fuck to exist, the cunt must exist: and abuse and humiliation 
only serve to enhance the cuntiness of a cunt, which is her power, 
glory, and so forth, no matter how horribly she is used or degraded. 
The appropriate use of an object — called cunt, instrument, tool, or 
woman — can never cease to be appropriate if the use correctly uses 
the object’s nature and function. Objects exist or are made in order 
to be used: in this case, used so that the male can experience his 
desire, or his desire to desire, or his alienation from his desire, or 
his desire to enact desire, or his desire to play a stringed instrument 
or to roll a log, or his desire to make dependable response patterns 


to organismic behavioral objects. Women are used in the making 
and made in the using. 

The love of or desire for or obsession with a sexual object is, in 
male culture, seen as a response to the qualities of the object itself. 
Since the first preoccupation is with the form of the object, men 
make great claims for the particular forms that provoke lust or the 
ability to fuck in them. What Becker refers to as a dependable 
response pattern, in the field of sexual psychology, is most often 
called objectification. Objectification is the accomplished fact: an 
internalized, nearly invariable response by the male to a form that 
is, in his estimation and experience, sufficiently whatever he needs 
to provoke arousal. The proper bounds of objectification as an 
appropriate response to an appropriate object are set by psychol- 
ogists, the high priests of secular culture: the form of a woman, a 
composite of women’s attributes, a part of a woman’s body. 
Anything or anyone else is seen as some kind of substitute for a 
woman or the male-defined sexual parts of her body. It is 
inappropriate to substitute. Male supremacy depends on the ability 
of men to view women as sexual objects, and deviations from this 
exercise in male power and female oblivion are discouraged. 
Nevertheless, objectification occurs on a massive scale with regard 
to inappropriate objects: males, leather, rubber, underwear, and so 
on. Objectification — that fixed response to the form of another that 
has as its inevitable consequence erection — is really a value system 
that has ejaculation as its inexorable, if momentary, denouement. 
Objectification, carried by the male not only as if it were his 
personal nature but as if it were nature itself, denotes who or what 
the male loves to hate; who or what he wants to possess, act on, 
conquer, define himself in opposition to; where he wants to spill his 
seed. The primary target of objectification is the woman. In male 
culture, men do argue about the proper bounds of objectification, 
especially about the viability of objectifying other males; but men 
do not argue about the moral meaning of objectification as such. It 
is taken for granted that a sexual response is an objectified response: 
that is, a response aroused by an object with specific attributes that 
in themselves provoke sexual desire. Objectification is a rather 


sterile word for the phenomenon that Thomas Hardy explored in 
The Well-Beloved: 

To his Well-Beloved he had always been faithful, but she had 
had many embodiments. Each individuality known as Lucy, 
Jane, Flora, Evangeline, or whatnot, had been merely a 
transient condition of her. He did not recognize this as an 
excuse or as a defence, but as a fact simply. Essentially she was 
perhaps of no tangible substance; a spirit, a dream, a frenzy, a 
conception, an aroma, an epitomized sex, a light of the eye, a 
parting of the lips . 26 

Sometimes objectification operates on what appears to be a silly 
and commonplace level, as when Ernest Hemingway had his fourth 
wife, Mary Welsh, dye her reddish hair blond. As she recorded: 
“Deeply rooted in his field of esthetics was some mystical devotion 
to blondness, the blonder the lovelier, I never learned why. He 
would have been ecstatic in a world of women dandelions .” 27 
Sometimes objectification is clearly sinister, for instance when it 
signifies, as it often does, racial hatred. As Robert Stoller points 
out, not necessarily with aversion, “. . . some people need the 
excremental: ... to choose people they consider fecal (e.g., black, 
Jewish, poor, uneducated, prostituted ).” 28 S toller’s formulation 
refers to those instances where objectification of the despised 
category facilitates intercourse. Jean-Paul Sartre describes the same 
sort of objectification with reverse consequences: “Some men are 
suddenly struck with impotence if they learn from the woman with 
whom they are making love that she is a Jewess. There is a disgust 
for the Jew, just as there is a disgust for the Chinese or the Negro 
among certain people .” 29 The relationship between the supposedly 
silly and commonplace objectification of blonds as beautiful and the 
sinister objectification of those considered in some way filth is, of 
course, a direct one: the same value system is embodied in this 
range of sexual obsession, sexual response. With this value system 
in mind, it becomes clear that the love of blonds is in fact as socially 
significant as, and inseparable from, the hatred of those who are 


seen to embody opposite qualities or characteristics. Objectifica- 
tion, in fact and in consequence, is never trivial. 

Men, perpetually searching to justify their perpetual search for 
objects that move them to experience their own desire transmuted 
to power, claim especially to love beauty as such; and under the 
formidable guise of aesthetic devotion, objectification is defended or 
presented as the recognition of the beautiful. Women ideally 
embody beauty: so the theory goes, even though men in practice 
seem to hate the female body per se. The notion that female beauty 
inspires male love is pervasive. One can hardly argue (so it seems) 
with the aesthetic values of the sublime artists of male culture who 
freeze the female form in time and render it exquisite, as in, for 
instance, the Venus de Milo, ancient Aphrodite, the women of 
Rubens, and so forth. It is nearly unconscionable to challenge, for 
instance, the aesthetic sensibility in Keats’s exquisite “Ode on a 
Grecian Urn,” where the object is first the urn itself, then the 
figures on it: 

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss; 

Though winning near the goal — yet, do not grieve; 

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, 

For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!’ 0 

The meaning of the male idealization of beauty is hidden by the 
very beauty of the art that proclaims woman, at her highest, a 
beautiful object. Keats has found the ideal crystallization of 
objectifying love: the bold lover perpetually desires the unchanging 
beauty of the unchanging female frozen in time; he will always love 
and she will always be fair; he will always love because she will 
always be fair. This same model of love is found in every soap and 
cosmetic commercial. In Keats, objectification is raised to its 
highest aesthetic level. With pinups too the bold lover will forever 
love and she be fair. 

The love that the male feels for the ideal beauty is evoked (or 
provoked) by beauty itself. Scarcely any woman dares to ignore 
male ideas of ideal female beauty altogether because these ideas will 


significantly determine the quality and limits of any woman’s life. 
But these ideas — which change from society to society or from time 
to time, or which exist in contrasting or opposing formulations at 
the same time within the same society — have a common premise: 
the object must be that which it is supposed to be; its behavior must 
be appropriate to its function. Inappropriate behavior ruins female 
beauty. Since women are capable of everything but permitted 
almost nothing (without the consequences of male revenge or 
grudge), acts that enhance the sensual or aesthetic dimension of a 
man become virtual physical stains on a woman. The one static 
standard of female beauty is that the woman must conform to the 
male’s definition of her as an object with respect to function as well 
as form. George Sand, for instance, attributed her own lack of 
beauty in male eyes (and therefore her own) to her intellectual and 
physical activity. In so doing, she gives a still-accurate picture of 
what the female beauty in Western culture may be and of what she 
must not do: 

I had a sound constitution, and as a child seemed likely to 
become beautiful, a promise I did not keep. This was perhaps 
my fault, since at the age when beauty blossoms I was already 
spending my nights reading and writing. ... 

Not to work so that my eyes would sparkle; not to run and 
play in the sun when God’s sun attracts me so; not to walk in 
sturdy wooden shoes for fear of deforming my ankles; to wear 
gloves, that is, to renounce the quickness and strength of my 
hands; to doom myself to be clumsy and feeble; never to tire 
myself, when everything urges me to use up my energy; to live, 
in short, under a bell jar; to be neither burned, nor chapped, 
nor faded before my time — such things were always impossible 
for me . 31 

Reading and writing, especially writing, have been seen as the 
antithesis of beauty in the female, as deadly as cyanide. Physical 
activity, even when prohibited, has been better tolerated. 

Women are reared, and often forced, to conform to the specific 
requirements of ideal beauty, whatever they are at any given time. 
From foot-binding to waist binding to breast binding, ideal Beauty 


often requires deforming of the natural body. From clitoridectomy 
to breast enlargement or reduction to surgically altered noses, ideal 
beauty often requires mutilation of the natural body. From hair 
dyeing to face painting to necessary ornamentation (for instance, 
high-heeled shoes), ideal beauty often requires distortion or denial 
of the natural body. Ranging from idiocy to atrocity, any and all 
strategies are employed so that the natural female body will fit the 
male idea of ideal female beauty. 

The mystification of female beauty in male culture knows no 
limit but one: somehow the beauty herself ends up dead or 
mutilated. Even an unregenerate materialist like Herbert Marcuse 
cannot stay earthbound when expostulating on beauty personified 
in the female — in this case Medusa, cut into pieces by Perseus: 

As desired object, the beautiful pertains to the domain of the 
primary instincts, Eros and Thanatos. The mythos links the 
adversaries: pleasure and terror. Beauty has the power to check 
aggression: it forbids and immobilizes the aggressor. The 
beautiful Medusa petrifies him who confronts her. “Poseidon, 
the god with azure locks, slept with her in a soft meadow on a 
bed with springtime flowers” [Hesiod, Theogony, trans. Nor- 
man O. Brown], She is slain by Perseus, and from her 
truncated body springs the winged horse Pegasus, symbol of 
poetic imagination . 12 

Poetry, the genre of purest beauty, was born of a truncated woman: 
her head severed from her body with a sword, a symbolic penis, so 
that poetry is born not only of a dead woman but of one sadistically 
mutilated. Poe, whose debt to Perseus cannot be overestimated, 
wrote that “[t]he death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the 
most poetical topic in the world.”” The function of beauty in the 
realm of the so-called erotic was further elucidated by Bataille when 
he wrote: “Beauty is desired in order that it may be befouled; not 
for its own sake, but for the joy brought by the certainty of 
profaning it .”* 4 Beauty, then, consistently has meaning in the 
sphere of female death or violation. An object is always destroyed 
in the end by its use when it is used to the fullest and enough; and 


in the realm of female beauty, the final value of the object is 
precisely to be found in its cruel or deadly destruction. 

Female knowledge of objectification usually stops at a necessary 
but superficial understanding: beauty is rewarded and lack of 
beauty is punished. The punishments are understood as personal 
misfortune; they are not seen as systematic, institutional, or 
historical. Women do not understand that they are also punished 
through sexual use for being beautiful; and women do not under- 
stand the lengths to which men go to protect themselves and their 
society from contamination by ugly women who do not induce a 
lustful desire to punish, violate, or destroy, though men manage to 
punish, violate, or destroy these women anyway. The Goncourt 
brothers, honored as authorities both on women and on eighteenth- 
century France, praised the eighteenth-century convent as “a refuge 
rather than a prison,” benign because it kept women scarred by 
smallpox out of the sight of men: 

[The convent] is above all the haven of broken lives, the almost 
obligatory asylum of women suffering from small-pox, a 
malady all but forgotten to-day, but one which disfigured a 
good quarter of the women of that time. Society, with every 
argument at its command, and the family, with every con- 
ceivable exhortation, urged the victim of this scourge toward 
the obscurity of the cloister. Even her mother consented, out of 
love, to surrender her luckless child, whose unsightliness 
excluded her from society and who ended by submitting to the 
pitiless precept of the time — 14 An ill-favored woman is a being 
without state in Nature or place in the world .” 35 

According to the Goncourts, two hundred thousand women or 
more, called laiderons (“foul faces”), were locked up in eighteenth- 
century French convents. The ostracism and exclusion of women 
who are not perceived as beautiful enough to be desirable from 
work and social participation is the modem equivalent of segregat- 
ing the laiderons; instead of being locked in, the modern laideron is 
locked out. 

Since the value of the object is finally in its violation or 


destruction, it is no surprise to find that there are men who have 
sexually objectified the woman who is that violated object: es- 
pecially the prostitute ravaged by the life or the racially degraded 
woman, both of whom are seen as pure and dangerous sexuality, 
used, reeking with violation. This woman is the sexual object for 
those men who want to violate, as Baudelaire expressed it, the 

Woman is hungry and wishes to eat. Thirsty 
and wishes to drink. 

She is in heat and wishes to be fucked. 

Is that not splendid? 

Woman is natural, that is to say abominable . 54 

The prostitute is the emblematic used woman, natural in that she 
most purely fulfills her sexual function; the despised — by virtue of 
race, class, or ethnicity — compose the bulk of the prostituted; 
prostitution signifies in and of itself male power in every sphere and 
constitutes in and of itself a bedrock of sexual excitement. As 
Flaubert wrote: “It is perhaps a perverted taste, but I love 
prostitution for itself and independently of what it means under- 
neath. I’ve never been able to see one of these women, in low-cut 
dresses, pass, beneath the light of the gas lamps, without my heart 
beating fast .” 57 But it is precisely what prostitution means “under- 
neath” that makes for the excitement. At the end of Sentimental 
Education , Flaubert’s novel about the passage of male youths into 
cynical maturity, Frederic and Deslauriers, two great friends, 
remember the first time they visited a brothel: “. . . the very 
pleasure of seeing at a single glance so many women at his disposal 
affected [Frederic] so powerfully that he turned deathly pale, and 
stood still, without saying a word .” 58 The whores laugh, he runs, 
and since he has the money, his friend is compelled to follow him. 
The novel ends as the two men agree that “[t]hat was the happiest 
time we ever had.” 5 '’ Looking back, they realize that they had never 
again experienced such a formidable sense of power, such an 
absolute recognition of the meaning of their masculinity, and that 
this feeling constituted happiness. 


The prostitute is seen as the antithesis of the man. In Baudelaire’s 
language, the man is civilized, the dandy; the woman is natural, the 
abominable. The language changes from writer to writer, but what 
remains constant is that this intense sense of estrangement from the 
female provides the necessary basis for sexual excitement. The 
woman whom the male knows as a person, not as object, can never, 
as Havelock Ellis puts it, be “a real girl”: 

But only the girl with whom one has not grown up from 
childhood, and become accustomed to, can ever be to us in the 
truly sexual sense, a real girl. That is to say, she alone can 
possess these powerful stimuli to the sense of sexual desir- 
ability, never developed in the people one has grown uncon- 
sciously used to, which are essential to the making of a real 
girl . 40 

Ellis goes on to claim that this inability to be aroused by a girl (sic) 
with whom one has grown up has biological origins in both man 
and lower animals. The baboon-next-door, apparently, is not “a 
real girl” either. 

For Becker “the making of a real girl” distinguishes man from 
other animals; “the making of a real girl” takes on sublime 
significance as man searches for meaning and especially for a 
meaningful sense of his own importance. Becker is simply more 
abstract than Ellis: 

No ontology of human striving can be complete without 
discussing what is most peculiar to man — the urge to love. 
When we understand that man is the only animal who must 
create meaning, who must open a wedge into neutral nature, we 
already understand the essence of love. Love is the problem of 
an animal who must find life, create a dialogue with nature in 
order to experience his own being. It is another dimension of 
the need to be brought into the world, by being brought into 
contact with life at its quickest and most striking. As Spinoza 
saw, love is the increase of self by means of the object. Love is 
the sentiment of a peculiarly alienated animal, one who is 
separate from the natural, instinctive process, and must be 
urged back into the world . 41 


The intense and obsessive use of person as object is seen as the 
solution to man’s alienation — not as the source of it nor as one of its 
most numbing manifestations. 

Not only does “love . . . increase fthc] self by means of the 
object”; but the fact of objectification — this diminished capacity to 
perceive and respond to life — is viewed as a key and dynamic 
element of individuality. Since men characteristically respond only 
to sexual fragments, bits and pieces, slivers of flesh costumed this 
way or that, this very incapacity is consistently transformed into 
one of love’s defining virtues. Krafft-Ebing, a pioneering sexologist 
currently out of fashion (unlike Kinsey and Ellis) because his goal 
was to move sexual deviation out of the realm of the criminal into 
the realm of the medical (not into the realm of the normal), 
enunciated a still-current appraisal of the value of objectification: 

In the considerations concerning the psychology of the 
normal sexual life in the first chapter of this work it was shown 
that, within psychological limits, the pronounced preference 
for a certain portion of the body of persons of the opposite sex, 
particularly for a certain form of this part, may attain great 
psychosexual importance. Indeed, the especial power of attrac- 
tion possessed by certain forms and peculiarities for many 
men — in fact, the majority — may be regarded as the real 
principle of individualism in love . 42 

The automatic, predetermined, fixed, intransigent response to a 
particular form or part of the body is supposed to be a manifestation 
of individuality rather than a paralyzation of individuality. The 
male’s individuality, in effect, can be reckoned by how little he 
responds to, how little he perceives, how little he values. Sexual 
myopia, then, becomes the paradigm for individuality. 

Sexologist C. A. Tripp very much in fashion, considers male 
sexual objectification an evolutionary high point: . . the selection 

of a particular partner whose smallest details may be so invested 
with meaning as to bring a person’s [sic] sexual response to fever 
pitch — represents more than a culmination of individual develop- 


ment. It can also be seen as the culmination of a trend in 
evolution .” 45 In Tripp’s rather surreal portrait of progress, the 
person in question is male, since Tripp, a disciple of Kinsey, insists 
that women have virtually no sex drive at all; and psychologists of 
all persuasions concur that real objectification is a male event, since 
objectification is necessary for arousal and arousal always means 
erection. Objectification signifies the male’s capacity for individual- 
ism and also his extreme selectivity and discernment, most clear, 
according to Tripp, in the situation of the homosexual male, where 
both partners by definition objectify: 

Homosexual promiscuity, in particular, frequently entails a 
remarkable amount of discrimination. Even a person who never 
wants a second contact with any of his partners may spend 
much time selecting from dozens or even hundreds of pos- 
sibilities. In fact, some of the most promiscuous individuals 
sustain considerable frustration not from any lack of oppor- 
tunity but from being exceedingly selective . 44 

Tripp believes that this evolutionary summit has a biological 
source: “The cortical organization of human [sic] sexuality is such 
that it eventually becomes keyed to specific cues, or to whole 
contexts of association .” 45 The cortical organization of the male — 
responsible in Tripp’s view for the fact of sexual objectification and 
all its attendant virtues (individuality, selectivity, discrimination, 
and promiscuity itself) — is superior to that of the female, who 
lumbers along with her mere capacity for unlimited orgasm and her 
dull taste for personality. Tripp’s phrase “whole contexts of 
association,” which sounds expansive rather than constricting, in 
reality means a program, a scenario, a response to preordained 
events that must proceed according to script for the male to 
maintain arousal. “On close examination,” Tripp explains, fully 
articulating the wisdom of our time, “nearly every adult’s [sic] 
highest level of response is limited to relatively few situations that 
fulfill specific personal demands — demands that are decidedly 
fetishlike in character .” 46 


And, in that case, what is it in this loved body which 
has the vocation of a fetish for me? 

Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse 

The word fetish comes from the Portuguese feitigo, which means 
“charm” or “made thing.” A fetish is a magical, symbolic object. Its 
first meaning is religious: the magical object is regarded with 
irrational, extreme, extravagant trust or reverence (to paraphrase 
Merriam-Webster). In its sexual meaning, the magic of the fetish is 
in its power to cause and sustain penile erection. In The Outer Fringe 
of Sex, Maurice North offers a neutral definition of fetishism: 

a preference for a particular part of the body not directly 
entering into coitus, an article of clothing or some other 
extrasexual object or combination of any of the aforementioned 
that is carried to the point where this fetish-object becomes 
dominant in the individual’s sex life, or without which sexual 
satisfaction is incomplete or impossible . 47 

Krafft-Ebing, in his definition, reveals a preoccupation with per- 
petuating heterosexual intercourse as the norm of sexual behavior: 

The concentration of the sexual interest on a certain portion of 
the body that has no direct relation to sex (as have breasts and 
external genitals) — a peculiarity to be emphasized — often leads 
body-fetishists to such a condition that they do not regard 
coitus as the real means of sexual gratification, but rather some 
form of manipulation of that portion of the body that is 
effectual as a fetish . 48 

Fetishism is seen as an inappropriate narrowing of sexual respon- 
siveness; objectification is seen as an appropriate narrowing of 
sexual responsiveness. The two are not really distinct at all; they 
reveal a continuum of incapacity. Fetishism too, as part of the male 
condition, is dignified as a sign of the human condition: “Fetishism, 


in other words,” writes Becker, “represents a relatively desperate 
attempt by a limited organism to come to grips in some satisfying 
way with a portion of reality. And, of course, the more limited the 
reality is, the more striking and overpowering — as when a cat 
singles out a robin on a lawn .” 49 

The image of the cat hunting the robin is not, of course, either 
accidental or irrelevant. The fetish is the magical object that causes 
erection. The irrational, extreme, extravagant trust or reverence felt 
by the male is not for the fetish object but for the erection. The 
fetish is valued because it consistently enables penile erection. Sex 
itself — behavior toward the fetish — remains predatory, hostile; it is 
the use of things to experience self. This usage and hostility when 
directed at real objects are considered, in the main, abnormal; when 
directed at whole women or their breasts or genitals it is considered 
normal and appropriate. 

Freud claimed that “the fetish is a substitute for the woman’s (the 
mother’s) penis that the little boy once believed in and — for reasons 
familiar to us [fear of castration] — does not want to give up .” 50 
Storr suggests that the fetish stands in for female genitals, “since the 
fetishist feels towards the fetish the same excitement and fascination 
which is aroused by the genital organs in the normal male .” 51 Since 
in Storr ’s view fetishes substitute for female genitals, the fetishes 
themselves are likely to be feminine symbols, especially articles of 
clothing particularly associated with women. “Women,” Storr 
claims, using the common, solipsistic argument of psychologists, 
“have no need of fetishes because they do not have to achieve or 
sustain an erection .” 52 Storr maintains, however, that women do 
use fetishes — to attract men: “[a] fetish may, as it were, be a flag 
hung out by the woman to proclaim her sexual availability . . 
Since there is virtually no bodily part or piece of apparel or 
substance that is not fetishized by some men somewhere, it would 
be hard indeed for a woman not to hang out a flag without going 
naked, which would be construed as definitely hanging out a flag. 
From underwear to rubber boots and raincoats to leather belts to 
long hair to all varieties of shoes to feet in and of themselyes: all 
these and more are fodder for male fetishists. The fact is that men 


can and do fetishize everything; and no woman can possibly know 
how to match up any given man with any given fetish, nor how to 
anticipate, nor how to avoid, “provoking” sexual arousal due to a 
fetishized response. What women can know, but do not sufficiently 
appreciate, is that common male fetishes determine female fashion: 
attracting a male through acceptable style or dress means that one 
has conformed to the requirements of one or more common male 
fetishes. Combat boots and dung-colored rags do the same. 

Kinsey, in his volume on the human female, categorizes fetishism 
as “an almost exclusively male phenomenon”; then he softens the 
meaning by a gender-neutral description of what fetishism entails: 

Persons who respond only or primarily to objects which are 
remote from the sexual partner, or remote from the overt sexual 
activities with a partner, are not rare in the population. This is 
particularly true of individuals who are erotically aroused by 
high heels, by boots, by corsets, by tight clothing, by long 
gloves, by whips, or by other objects which suggest sado- 
masochistic relationships . . .” 

All of the fetishes listed by Kinsey, in the male frame of reference, 
suggest bondage. As with Becker’s image of the cat ready to pounce 
on the robin, the sexual meaning attributed to the fetish cannot 
exist outside a context of power and predation. 

The shoe is a commonly fetishized article of dress, though how 
the shoe comes to substitute for the female is a male mystery. 
Charles Winick suggests that 

[t]he shoe is the one item of costume which reflects gender most 
sensitively, perhaps because the foot’s position in the shoe is so 
analogous to the position of the sexual organs during inter- 

Explanations like Winick’s are commonplace in the literature on 
foot and shoe fetishism: note the logic or absence thereof. Also note 
the elevation of male obsession into the sphere of the meaningful. 

All kinds of shoes are fetishized, but in the West the high-heeled 
shoe and the boot have the widest, most enduring significance. Lars 


Ullerstam, in The Erotic Minorities , writes that “[w]hen women’s 
fashion decrees high-heeled boots, many men walk the streets with 
a permanent erection .” 56 “Women’s fashion” is a euphemism for 
fashion created by men for women; the failure to follow the dicta of 
this fashion has severe economic repercussions for any woman. The 
clear, unavoidable male concern with female footwear demonstrates 
the scale of male fascination with female feet. Hannah Tillich, with 
her characteristic good humor, noted the extraordinary effect her 
bare feet had on Paul Tillich: 

When I took off my shoes, Paulus became ecstatic about my 
feet. In later years, I often said that if I hadn’t walked barefoot 
with him that day, we would never have married. That was 
after I had learned that his preoccupation with feet had always 
been extraordinary . 57 

The Chinese were preoccupied with feet for a thousand years, 
during which they bound and crippled the feet of young girls and 
the deformed foot was the main focus of sexual interest. The bound 
foot was the fetish; the binding and the sexual use of the crippled 
female were saturated with the values of bondage and conquest. 
The preoccupation in the West with high-heeled shoes is no less 

The sexual fetish often has a function that obscures its signifi- 
cance as a magical cause of erection. The shoe, for instance, is seen 
by women in many ways, but almost never as a magical cause of 
erection in the male. Some women even wear shoes because the 
streets are dirty or cold or dangerous to the bare foot. The cultural 
level on which the fetish manifests varies greatly. Paul Tillich, for 
instance, was a great Christian thinker. Underneath the high- 
minded, humanistic philosophizing was a grimmer reality, as 
Hannah Tillich revealed in her memoir: 

The old man [Paul Tillich] had pushed the buttons on his 
custom-made screen. There was the familiar cross shooting up 
the wall. “So fitting for a Christian and a theologian,” she 
[Hannah Tillich] sneered. A naked girl hung on it, hands tied 


in front of her private parts. Another naked figure lashed the 
crucified one with a whip that reached further to another cross, 
on which a girl was exposed from behind. More and more 
crosses appeared, all with women tied and exposed in various 
positions. Some were exposed from the front, some from the 
side, some from behind, some crouched in fetal position, some 
head down, or legs apart, or legs crossed — and always whips, 
crosses, whips .* 8 

Which comes first, the fetish or the philosophy, is an unsolvable 
riddle: but every fetish, expressed on whatever level, manifests the 
power of the erect penis, especially its power in determining the 
sensibility of the male himself, his ethical as well as his sexual 
nature. Since men never judge ethical capacity on the basis of 
justice toward women, the sexual meaning of the fetish remains 
subterranean, while on the cultural level the fetish is expanded into 
myth, religion, idea, aesthetics, all necessarily and intrinsically 
male-supremacist. The uniting theme is the hatred expressed 
toward women. 

Male culture thrives on argument and prides itself on 
distinctions. Objectification is natural, normal, to be encouraged; 
fetishism is unnatural, abnormal, to be discouraged. But surely 
fetishism proceeds logically from objectification: and if the percep- 
tion of persons as objects is not a crime against the person so 
perceived, then there is no crime, because every violation of the 
female proceeds from this so-called normal phenomenon. And, in 
the final analysis, it must be recognized that the woman is the 
fetish, not just object, but magical charm, charged with symbolic 
meaning: the made thing that most consistently provokes erection. 
In Marcuse’s words (arguing against the mysticism of Norman O. 
Brown’s Love's Body): “This is it. The woman, the land is here on 
earth, to be found here on earth, living and dying, female for male, 
distinguished, particular, tension to be renewed, Romeo’s and Don 
Juan’s, self and another, yours or mine, fulfillment in alienation .” 59 


Mother, whore, beauty, abomination, nature or ornament, she is 
the thing in contradistinction to which the male is human. Without 
her as fetish— the charmed object— the male, including the male 
homosexual, would be unable to experience his own selfhood, his 
own power, his own penile presence and sexual superiority. Male 
homosexual culture consistently uses the symbolic female — the 
male in drag, effeminacy as a style, the various accoutrements that 
denote female subjection — as part of its indigenous environment, as 
a touchstone against which masculinity can be experienced as 
meaningful and sublime. Male homosexuals, especially in the arts 
and in fashion, conspire with male heterosexuals to enforce the 
male-supremacist rule that the female must be that made thing 
against which the male acts to experience himself as male. Woman 
is not bom; she is made. In the making, her humanity is destroyed. 
She becomes symbol of this, symbol of that: mother of the earth, 
slut of the universe; but she never becomes herself because it is 
forbidden for her to do so. No act of hers can overturn the way in 
which she is consistently perceived: as some sort of thing. No sense 
of her own purpose can supercede, finally, the male’s sense of her 
purpose: to be that thing that enables him to experience raw phallic 
power. In pornography, his sense of purpose is fully realized. She is 
the pinup, the centerfold, the poster, the postcard, the dirty 
picture, naked, half-dressed, laid out, legs spread, breasts or ass 
protruding. She is the thing she is supposed to be: the thing that 
makes him erect. In literary and cinematic pornography, she is 
taught to be that thing: raped, beaten, bound, used, until she 
recognizes her true nature and purpose and complies — happily, 
greedily, begging for more. She is used until she knows only that 
she is a thing to be used. This knowledge is her authentic erotic 
sensibility: her erotic destiny. The more she is a thing, the more she 
provokes erection; the more she is a thing, the more she fulfills her 
purpose; her purpose is to be the thing that provokes erection. She 
starts out searching for love or in love with love. She finds love as 
men understand it in being the thing men use. As Mario, the master 
eroticist in the film Emmanuelle , says to the heroine after he has had 
her repeatedly raped and used: “Real love is the erection, not the 
orgasm.” As Adrienne Rich wrote: “No one has imagined us.” 60 



Indeed the Pentateuch is a long painful record of 
war, corruption, rapine, and lust. Why Christians 
who wished to convert the heathen to our religion 
should send them these books, passes ail understand- 
ing. It is most demoralizing reading for children and 
the unthinking masses, giving all alike the lowest 
possible idea of womanhood, having no hope nor 
ambition beyond conjugal unions with men they 
scarcely knew, for whom they could not have had the 
slightest sentiment of friendship, to say nothing of 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman's Bible 

And it should be realised, too, that captives, animals 
or men [sic], are not constantly absorbed by the 
notion of escape, for all their restless pacing behind 
the bars . . . The long glance, the unquiet step are 
only reflexes, brought about by habit or the size of 
their prison. Open the door that the bird, the 
squirrel, the wild beast have been eyeing, besieging, 
imploring, and instead of the leap, the sudden flurry 
of wings you expected, the disconcerted creature will 
stiffen and draw back into the depths of its cage. I 
had plenty of time to think, and I was constantly 
hearing the same grand, contemptuous, sarcastic 
words, shining links of a fine-wrought chain: “After 
alt, you are perfectly free. . . 

Colette, My Apprenticeships 

There are two photographs, part of a four-page layout with text. In 
the first photograph, there are two women. The woman on the left 
is older. Her head is swathed in a black turban. Her skin is a tawny 


brown. Her race is ambiguous. From her ear hangs a shiny silver 
half-moon earring. From her neck, on a barely visible cord, is a 
small ivory tooth. Her body is draped in a bright red robe that has 
Oriental characters on it. The neck of the robe is opened into a deep 
V but her breasts do not show. On her left wrist is a silver bracelet. 
On her left hand are two large silver rings. In her left hand is a pair 
of silver scissors. One finger of her left hand appears to touch the 
pubic area of the second woman. The scissors, held between the 
thumb and first finger, are slightly raised above the pubic area. Her 
right hand, with one large silver ring, holds up a black garter, 
unfastened to provide access to the pubic area of the second woman. 
The first woman’s eyes are downcast so that only her heavily made- 
up eyelids show. Her eyes appear to be focused on the pubic area of 
the second woman. The first woman wears bright red lipstick the 
color of her robe and has nails painted the same color. The color is 
usually called blood red. The second woman has curly, light brown 
hair. She is clearly white-skinned. The text, titled “Barbered Pole,” 
identifies her as Polish and turns her into an ethnic joke. She wears 
a red-and-black lace corset vv ith black garters, one garter attached to 
the black nylon stocking on her right leg. Her left leg extends under 
the arm and behind the first woman, so that her legs are spread 
wide open. The garter belt on the left is unfastened and lifted up by 
the first woman and draped over her hand. The second woman 
wears a pinker shade of lipstick, her cheeks are very pink, her nails 
are painted blood red. Her exposed pubic area is just below the 
visual center of the photograph. The scissors poised above her 
pubic area are dead center. The second photograph is a close-up of 
the pubic area, which fills the whole frame: flesh, spread thighs, the 
vulva. The vulva is pink and highlighted. The scissors rest right 
next to the vulva, pointed toward it. A comb with hair in its teeth is 
just above the vaginal opening. It is held by a hand with bloodred 
fingernails, one of which is pointed toward the vulva. Most of the 
hair has been cut or shaved away (in accompanying photographs), 
except for a discernible V pattern right above the vulva. Red specks 
that could be blood or bruises or cuts are on the skin of the inner 
thighs. The text in part reads: “When Katherina was asked why she 

FORCE 1 3 1 

was having her pubic hair styled, she told us that it was purely for 
her own self.” 

The first woman is defined through age, color, and activity. She 
is old in the male value system, beyond sexual desirability. She is 
used, hardened, potentially dangerous yet performing a menial 
service. Her proper sexual role is to prepare, to groom, a younger 
woman for sexual service. She is a woman of color, though it is not 
clear which color. Turban, ivory tooth, heavy silver jewelry with 
the half-moon earring, Oriental characters on her robe, a gypsylike 
appearance as if a fortune-teller, suggest that she is an old witch 
woman filled with racial mysteries, malice, and magic — a prototypi- 
cal female figure in the racist imagination. Both her servility and 
hostility to the white woman are articulated in the activity she 
performs, menial in relation to the white woman yet also potentially 
dangerous to her. This is the classic situation of the racially 
degraded servant: her literal ability to hurt the one she serves is, in a 
moment, absolute, but she cannot survive beyond the literal act 
because her group is powerless, she will be destroyed, and so she 

The white woman — Polish, in ethnic humor characterized as 
extremely stupid — stares into the camera with an unflinching gaze, 
with no hint of embarrassment, modesty, or shame. She is 
unafraid. She wants what she is getting. She is, in a literal sense, 
imperiled, at the mercy of the woman of color, but she does not 
even acknowledge her. The Polish joke in the layout may be that 
the Polish woman thinks that all of this is “purely for her own self.” 

The white woman is the whore, the sexual object of the moment. 
The woman of color is the sexual veteran. The woman of color is 
the menial. The white woman is the boss. The older woman is the 
preparer. The younger woman is the thing prepared. In the realm 
of age, the relationship parodies the mother-daughter arrangement 
in the male-supremacist system: the mother teaches her daughter 
how to groom herself or grooms her; the mother is the carrier and 
enforcer of male aesthetic values vis-4-vis the female body; the 
mother’s success is measured by the daughter’s success in becoming 
what the mother has tried to make her. The older woman has the 


weapon in her hand. Still, the older woman serves. The one she 
actually serves is not pictured. 

These are two women together, within the male framework a 
lesbian scenario. No male figure as such is present. The scissors are 
the explicit phallic presence ( vagina means sheath). The scissors are 
poised near the entrance to the vagina, as the comb, also a phallic 
object, is poised above it. Pressed against the skin, the scissors cut 
the hair so close to the skin that the skin is left bruised or cut. The 
teeth of the comb suggest vagina dentata. The ivory tooth hanging 
from the neck of the older woman suggests the same, removed from 
the genitals and generalized to the whole personality. 

The two photographs posit an all-female sadism. The lesbian 
motif is supposed to mean that the values in the photographs really 
have to do with women, not men. The threat of the scissors gives 
testimony to the fact that in the male mind two women cannot be 
together without a phallic third, but despite this reassuring 
expression of phallic faith, two women without a man purposefully 
underlines the femaleness of the sexuality pictured. The older 
woman’s cruelty is conveyed especially by the scissors but the 
younger woman is also cruel, hard, tough. These are the same 
woman, one younger, one older, one white, one of color. They are 
the shameless women of sex, the whores whose carnality is 
assaultive in its arrogance. They are lesbian — purely female — 
bitches. They are lesbian — purely masculine — bitches. The scissors 
suggest or promise phallic penetration but they also suggest or 
promise castration, women with scissors aimed at the genitals. 
Female genital mutilation (practiced widely, mother to daughter, in 
sections of the Third World) and the castrating phallic woman 
(fantasized so energetically in this world) are conjured up simul- 
taneously. The V shape of the hair that is left suggests vulva, 
vagina, and also victory. The victory of the vagina over the male is a 
castrating victory. These are the cruel women. 

The absence of men from the photographs encourages the belief 
that men are seeing women as they really are, in private, with each 
other — a pure female sexuality, a basic carnality usually hidden by 
the dull conventions of civilization, that tamer of the female. The 

FORCE 133 

underlying message is that the female in her pure sexuality is 
sadistic, a conviction articulated not only by the pornographers but 
also by the enlightened philosophers of sex on all levels. The 
Christians called women carnal and evil and killed nine million as 
witches. The enlightened thinkers secularize the conviction, turn 
faith to idea. According to women’s best friend, Havelock Ellis, in 
his classic Studies in the Psychology of Sex, female sadism is a 
biologically evident norm, while male sadism is abnormal, un- 
natural, manifesting in civilization: 

In that abnormal sadism which appears from time to time 
among civilized human beings it is nearly always the female 
who becomes the victim of the male. But in the normal sadism 
which occurs throughout a large part of nature it is nearly 
always the male who is the victim of the female. It is the male 
spider who impregnates the female at the risk of his life and 
sometimes perishes in the attempt; it is the male bee who, after 
intercourse with the queen, falls dead from that fatal embrace, 
leaving her to fling aside his entrails and calmly pursue her 
course. If it may seem to some that the course of our inquiry leads us to 
contemplate with equanimity, as a natural phenomenon, a certain 
semblance of cruelty in man in his relation to woman, they may, if they 
will, reflect that this phenomenon is but a very slight counterpoise to 
that cruelty which has been naturally exerted by the female on the male 
long even before man began to be. 1 [Italics mine] 

Ellis, like so many other male thinkers contemplating the human 
female, looks to various insects and eight-legged things. Here he 
has contradicted his main thesis, which is that natural (biolog- 
ical) human sex requires a forceful or cruel male and a woman 
who pretends to resist or does resist and must be conquered. But 
he contradicts himself for a purpose: to justify the male force 
used against women in sex by positing a more fundamental 
female sadism. 

Robert Briffault, author of The Mothers: The Matriarchal Theory of 
Social Origins and another best friend of women, turns to camels 
and crabs to posit an equality of sexual sadism in male and 


With both the male and the female, “love,” or sexual 
attraction, is originally and preeminently “sadic”; it is 
positively gratified by the infliction of pain; it is as cruel as 
hunger. That is the direct, fundamental, and longest estab- 
lished sentiment connected with the sexual impulse. The 
male animal captures, mauls and bites the female, who in 
turn uses her teeth and claws freely, and the “lovers” issue 
from the sexual combat bleeding and mangled. Crustaceans 
usually lose a limb or two in the encounter. All mammals 
without exception use their teeth on these occasions. Pallas 
describes the mating of camels: as soon as impregnation has 
taken place, the female, with a vicious snarl, turns round and 
attacks the male with her teeth, and the latter is driven away 
in terror . 2 

The equality of sadism here is patently false: the male animal 
does the capturing; the poor female camel is a bit late in 
terrorizing the male — she is already pregnant and barefoot, as it 
were. But a basis is clearly established for fearing the sexual 
sadism of the female. The hit-and-run sexuality of the human 
male seems, in this context, a reasonable attempt to save life and 
limb from the sadistic treachery of the female. Of course, it 
would make more sense if he were attempting to fuck a camel. 

The more contemporary advocates of crawling, swimming, and 
flying things as illuminators of human sexual and social behavior 
take an unambiguous stand in favor of the male as the consummate 
biological sadist: naturally, they pick bugs, fish, and fowl appropri- 
ate to their point of view. Essentially, they maintain that the 
women's movement is biologically deviant: if women were capable 
of taking power (taking power seen exclusively as a function of 
inherent sexual sadism), then perhaps women might even be 
capable of using and maintaining power. Since this idea is 
repugnant, the strategy of this particular male-supremacist clique is 
to assert that it is a biological impossibility for females to use sexual 
force, that is, to be sexually controlling or dominant. In Sexual 
Politics , Kate Millett gave a representative example of this way of 
thinking. She described the so-called cichlid effect, . . a theory 
of human sexuality modeled on the reactions of a prehistoric fish 

FORCE 135 

whom Konrad Lorenz examined to conclude that male cichlids 
failed to find the courage to mate unless the female of their species 
responded with ‘awe.’” Millctt notes that “[h]ow one measures ‘awe’ 
in a fish is a question perhaps better left unanswered . . The use 
of the cichlid to buttress male sexual supremacy — not to mention 
the multitudes of insects that people Edward O. Wilson’s 
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis — may be seen to indicate either a new 
militancy or a new desperation on the part of those who look to 
other species to justify male domination. 

Psychiatrists and psychologists, however, still postulate a basic 
female sadism. Their proof is clinical, that is, deduced or imagined 
from what they observe in patients. Bruno Bettelheim suggests that 
in females sexual sadism would naturally lead to self-mutilation: 

The desires of our little boys indeed suggest that some men 
would excise part of the female sex organs if not prevented. But 
the example of the girl who had to take special precautions to 
prevent herself from tearing off her own clitoris raises a doubt 
as to whether this far-reaching mutilation also may not be re- 
enforced at least in part by desires that spring up autonomously 
in women. 4 

Bettelheim’s generalization from the behavior of one disturbed girl 
expresses a wish, one also expressed in the photographs, scissors in 
the hand of a woman aimed at the genitals of a woman. 

Robert Stoller, concerned ultimately with the paradisical hetero- 
sexual adjustment of angry women, posits, much as Briffault did, a 
sexual sadism that manifests in both males and females. He is 
particularly contemptuous of women who fail to meet elementary 
standards of humanism because they think that males alone are 

Belle [Stoller’s prototypical female] suffered endlessly from 
her anger at males and envy at their happier lot, without hope 
that she could move from her inferior position and ashamed 
that she mismanaged these issues. Yet she discovered that 
knowing men to be sadists (she did not make that up), she was 
using that knowledge to read sadism into all our acts. And that 


is propaganda, whether used for social causes or for masturba- 

Women, too, are sadists; she ignored that. Humans, whether 
by nature or nurture, are often villains. Big news . 5 

Actually, this is “big news" to women whose lives are circum- 
scribed by the sexual sadism of males; but it is good news to those 
males who justify their abuse of women by believing that women 
are sexually sadistic at heart and that the sadism of women is 
formidable despite the fact that it is not socially or historically self- 
evident. The cage is justified because the animal inside it is wild and 
dangerous. The sexual philosophers, like the pomographers, need 
to believe that women are more dangerous than men or as 
dangerous as men so as to be justified in their social and sexual 
domination of them. As long as this alleged female sadism is 
controlled by men, it can be manipulated to give men pleasure: 
dominance in the male system is pleasure. 

At the same time, essential to this gratification on some level is 
the illusion that the women are not controlled by men but are acting 
freely. The photographs of the two women are a peek through a 
keyhole. The conceit is that since the male is not in the photo- 
graphs, the women are doing what they want to do willfully and for 
themselves: “When Katherina was asked why she was having her 
pubic hair styled, she told us that it was purely for her own self.” 
What women in private want to do just happens to be what men 
want them to do. This is the meanest theme of pornography: the 
elucidation of what men insist is the secret, hidden, true carnality of 
women, free women. When the secret is revealed, the whore is 
exposed. The woman in private (female privacy as a state of being 
that is emphasized when two females are pictured together without 
a male) is, in fact, the shameless slut, all life and value in the vagina, 
all pride in the genitals, the scissors the appropriate tool of entry. 
Cut the castrating woman before she cuts. Coleridge’s “willing 
suspension of disbelief’ operates more consistently in the viewing of 
pornography than it ever has in the reading of literature. The 
willing suspension of disbelief is crucial. Without it, one might 

FORCE 137 

remember that this rendition of women in private is not women in 
private at all, but women in makeup and costumes under hot lights 
in uncomfortable positions posed before a camera behind which is a 
photographer behind whom is a publisher behind whom is a 
multibillion-dollar industry behind which are rich lawyers claiming 
that the photographs are constitutionally protected speech essential 
to human freedom behind whom are intellectuals who find all of 
this revolutionary behind all of whom — except the models — are 
women who launder their underwear and clean their toilets. 
Indeed, to be a consumer of pornography one must be adept at 
suspending disbelief. Should disbelief prove stubborn and not easy 
to suspend, the knowledge that the models posed for money 
provides confirmation that they are whores and then the photo- 
graphs are a simple expression of a general truth. For the viewer 
who remembers that the photographs are artificial constructs, the 
photographs prove what the photographs show: that women are 
whores, dumb and evil whores at that; that women like to whore; 
that women choose to whore. The harlot nature of women is 
authenticated by the very existence of the photographs. Harlot as an 
adjective means “not subject to control .” 6 The imperative is clear: 
the harlot nature of women must be controlled or the castrating 
potential of these wild women might run amok. The scissors might 
be pointed in another direction. The very illusion that these are free 
women doing what they want creates an inevitable necessity: these 
females, basically cruel, must be controlled, and any strategy that 
effectively controls them is warranted because they have no 
recognizable civilized sensibility or intellectual capacity — they are 
wild. Finally, of course, the male can relax: the photographs 
themselves are his proof that male control has fully contained and 
subdued any authentic female sexuality. 

The photographs also document a rape, a rape first enacted when 
the women were set up and used; a rape repeated each time the 
viewer consumes the photographs. As described by Elizabeth 
Janeway, . . one of the charms of pornography is that it records 
session after session of guiltless rape in which the powerful are 
licensed to have their will of the weak because the weak ‘really like 


it that way.’” 7 The weak are women as a class — economically, 
socially, and sexually degraded as a given condition of birth: and 
the women in these photographs graphically embody devotion to 
the male sexual system that uses them. “Really liking it that way” is 
the ultimate survival necessity of women raped as a matter of 
course — women who exist to be used by men, as these models do. 
“The essence of rape,” as Suzanne Br0gger wrote, . . lies not in 
the degree of psychological and physical force . . . but in the very 
attitude toward women that makes disguised or undisguised rape 
possible. The same attitude that requires a woman to be dead, or at 
least a bloody mess, before she has earned the right to be considered 
a victim at all.” 8 The essence of rape, then, is in the conviction that 
no woman, however clearly degraded by what she does, is a victim. 
If the harlot nature of the female is her true nature, then nothing 
that signifies or reveals that nature is cither violating or victimizing. 
The essence of rape is in the conviction that such photographs — in 
any way, to any degree — show a female sexuality independent of 
male power, outside the bounds of male supremacy, uncontami- 
nated by male force. The rape of women who appear to “really like 
it that way” by camera is the first definition of the female as victim 
in contemporary society — not dead, not a bloody mess. Not yet. 

There are two photographs, part of a four-picture, two-page 
layout with text. In the first photograph, a woman stands upright. 
The front of her body faces the camera directly. Her head is tilted 
slightly backwards and turned to the left, so that she is looking up. 
Her eyes are black. Her eye makeup is thick and black, emphasiz- 
ing the blackness of her eyes. Her hair is black, thick, and wavy. 
Her lips are full. Her skin is olive in some places, brown in others, 
depending on how the light falls. Her nipples are dark and so is her 
pubic hair which is abundant. Her breasts are full. She wears black 
high heels, spiked, that appear to be open at the toes, and black 
gloves that extend slightly past the elbows. Her arms are raised 
above her head. Her hands are chained together at the wrists and 
attached to a horizontal pole. Her body is bound in black straps: a V 
opening up from her crotch, wrapped around her waist, an upside- 
down V that crisscrosses between her breasts to form another V that 

FORCE 1 39 

disappears behind her neck. Zigzagged across her body, in front 
and behind, are bluish white laser beams. The woman is held 
stationary by the laser beams that cut across and behind her body. 
A second photograph shows the woman’s naked ass and legs. The 
top border of the photograph is cropped just below the woman’s 
waist. She is standing. Her legs are spread. She is wearing black 
spiked heels. Her ankles are manacled. The manacles are fastened 
by chains to a pole that runs across the top part of the photograph, 
blocked from view only where the woman’s ass blocks it. The 
chains that fasten the woman to the pole are attached to the outside 
of each ankle and run perpendicular to the pole without any slack. 
The woman’s skin is brown. Several laser beams appear to 
penetrate her vagina from behind. The rays of laser light converge 
from below at what appears to be the point of entry into the 
woman. It is as if the woman were hoisted on laser beams going into 
her vagina. The text explains that Playboy has eight foreign editions 
and that the favorite of the editors in the United States is the 
German one: when they pass the German edition on to their 
Porsche mechanic, “our car will — inexplicably — run that much 
better.” Playboy editors in Munich “have a slightly different 
approach to eroticism, one that is a refreshing break from the 
home-grown variety. As you can see from these pictures, their taste 
runs to the technological.” The woman is called “an exquisite 

The laser promises burning. The word “laser” is an acronym for 
Tight amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Laser light is 
atomic light. Alex Mallow and Leon Chabot, in the Laser Safety 
Handbook, explain: “Light is produced by internal atomic actions, 
and a particular form of these internal actions generates laser 
light.”® Laser light is especially distinguished from “regular” light — 
for instance, the light emitted from a light bulb — by its incredible 
intensity, the fact that it is light of a very pure color, that it 
manifests as a straight-arrow beam that can be directed with nearly 
absolute accuracy at any target near or far (for instance, according 
to The New York Times, March 3, 1980, the Pentagon is already 
developing laser weapons that can destroy tanks, aircraft, missiles, 
and orbiting satellites). The intensity of light emitted by a laser 


means that it also generates incredible heat. Laser light is burning 
light. In The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells, with characteristic 
prescience, wrote of a ray that caused whatever it touched to burn. 
He called it “that pitiless sword of heat,” 10 a fairly good description 
of the modern laser. In popular culture, especially in science fiction 
and futuristic adventure films, a laser beam, emitted from a gun, 
will cause a person or thing to vaporize. Scientists have already 
acknowledged the laser as a potential antipersonnel weapon of 
astonishing destructive capability. Nehrich, Voran, and Dessel, in 
their basic book Atomic Light: Lasers — What They Are and How They 
Work, write that “[t]he use of the laser for a death ray cannot be 
avoided as a possibility. It stands to reason that a light ray powerful 
enough to penetrate steel could also bum through a nice soft human 

The amount of energy used in a laser does not indicate its power. 
In Lasers: Tools of Modem Technology, Ronald Brown explains: “A 
pulse from a ruby laser, focused by a lens, can blast a hole in steel 
plate a third of a centimeter thick, yet it does not contain enough 
energy to boil an egg. There is no contradiction here: although the 
total energy in a pulse is not very great, it is very highly 
concentrated.” 12 According to O. S. Heavens in Lasers: 

The hazard of the high-power carbon dioxide laser — which will 
burn a hole through a firebrick in seconds — is an obvious one so 
far as danger to humans is concerned. Less obvious is the 
potential harm that can result from looking at say, a helium- 
neon laser beam of only one thousandth of a watt. Because the 
lens of the eye focuses the beam on to a minute spot on the 
retina, the intensity of illumination on the retinal cells could 
easily be high enough to cause damage." [Italics mine] 

In 1964, the United States Navy issued a report on hazards to laser 

Whether the laser is used in the laboratory as a research tool, 
in the field as a simulator or as a weapon, or in a space vehicle 
as a means of communication, its property of generating intense 

FORCE 141 

light, and therefore heat, constitutes a potential hazard to the 
personnel who use it . 14 

No reference is made, of course, to the use of the laser in 
pornography, but one must assume that the hazards are not 
mitigated by the fun factor. 

O. S. Heavens summarizes the dangers of the laser as they are 
widely recognized by authorities in the field: 

What are the ways in which laser radiation will affect 
biological material? . . . First, the high intensity in a laser 
beam may produce heating, so producing a bum or even 
complete volatilisation of the material. Secondly, the laser 
beam may generate high-intensity acoustic (sound or ultrasonic) 
waves which may . . . damage material in the neighbourhood 
of the laser shot . . . Thirdly, the large electric field associated 
with the intense beam may affect the biological material. 
Fourthly, a pressure wave may spread out from the point of 
impact. Our present understanding of many of these effects is 
at a very primitive level ...” 

Nehrich, Voran, and Dessel stress the foolishness involved in 
underestimating the danger of any laser, however weak: 

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that there are many 
dangers in laser operations. Even the least powerful laser beam 
must be treated as potentially dangerous. It is not necessary, 
for example, to look directly into the laser beam in order to 
sustain eye damage. Accidental reflections from such things as 
wristwatch crystals, metal watch bands, buttons, jewels, or 
even a glossy enamelled surface may reflect a portion of the 
beam into someone’s eye . 14 

Mallow and Chabot emphasize that “[e]lectrocution is a real 
possibility. Indeed, four documented electrocutions from laser- 
related activities have occurred in the United States .” 17 In addition 
to citing dangers to eyes and skin and the possibility of electrical 
accidents, John F. Ready warns against another threat commonly 
mentioned in the literature on lasers: “there are hazards . . . from 


the poisonous materials which are used in many lasers and in laser- 
associated equipment. These potential dangers have to be balanced 
against the benefits to be gained from the use of lasers.” 18 Mr. 
Ready, like the U.S. Navy in its report on the hazards of lasers, did 
not anticipate Playboy . Perhaps in science and warfare one must 
balance dangers against benefits, but in pornography there is no 
viable argument against whatever works in exciting the male. The 
importance of pornography to the human male is counted in gold; 
danger to the female is counted in feathers. After all, the use of laser 
beams to restrain and then apparently penetrate a woman is “a 
refreshing break from the home-grown variety” of pornography, 
and once the mechanic sees the photographs, “our car will — 
inexplicably — run that much better.” Should one — inexplicably — 
argue that the use of the laser was both hazardous and gratuitous — 
and therefore too dangerous to be warranted — one would be wrong. 
It was only hazardous. It was not gratuitous. 

The laser beams promise burning. The taste of some Germans 
has indeed run to the technological: ovens in which masses of Jews 
were exterminated. There was no laser in Hitlers time, but he and 
his men pioneered the field of technologically proficient mass 
extermination. The ethnic or racial identity of the model in this 
context becomes clear: she is a Jewish physical type. A racial as well 
as a sexual stereotype is exploited: she walks willingly into the oven. 
The technological dimension, according to the text, distinguishes 
the photographs as German; the technological dimension dis- 
tinguished the German slaughter of the Jews from all other mass 
slaughters of the Jews. The technology used to kill is what made the 
numbers possible. The ambition of the Germans to exterminate the 
Jews was realized to such a staggering extent because of a 
commitment on the part of the Germans to a technology of 
extermination. The mention of the Porsche — apparently gra- 
tuitous — which “inexplicably” functions better, conjures up the 
German transport of the Jews.* She is the Jew, the willing victim: 

* Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry developed assorted tanks for Hitler 
as well as a champion racing car and the Volkswagen. The Porsches worked 
for Krupp. 

FORCE 143 

the Jews walked willingly into the ovens. She is the woman, the 
volunteer for bondage. Women, too, were burned en masse in 
Germany: the witchcraft persecutions. The manual character of 
those burnings meant that killing was slower. As described by 
Pennethorne Hughes in Witchcraft: “In almost every province of 
Germany the persecution raged with increasing intensity. Six 
hundred were said to have been burned by a single bishopric in 
Bamberg, where the special witch jail was kept fully packed. Nine 
hundred were destroyed in a single year in the bishopric of 
Wurzburg, and in Nuremberg and other great cities there were one 
or two hundred burnings a year .” 19 All Western Europe partici- 
pated in the witch killings, but the mass slaughters were horribly 
fierce in Germany. For the most part, the witches were burned. 
The laser promises burning. The photographs reprinted from the 
German Playboy , like all pieces of pornography, do not exist in a 
historical vacuum. On the contrary, they exploit history — es- 
pecially historical hatreds and historical suffering. The witches 
were burned. The Jews were burned. The laser burns. Jew and 
woman. Playboy's model is captive, bound, in danger of burning. 

The sexualization of “the Jewess” in cultures that abhor the 
Jew — subtly or overtly — is the paradigm for the sexualization of all 
racially or ethnically degraded women. As Sartre wrote in his 
classic Anti-Semite and Jew : 

There is in the words “a beautiful Jewess” a very special 
sexual signification . . . This phrase carries an aura of rape and 
massacre. The “beautiful Jewess” is she whom the Cossacks 
under the czars dragged by her hair through the streets of her 
burning village. And the special works which are given over to 
accounts of flagellation reserve a place of honor for the Jewess. 
But it is not necessary to look into esoteric [pornographic] 
literature. ... the Jewess has a well-defined function in even 
the most serious novels. Frequently violated or beaten, she 
sometimes succeeds in escaping dishonor by means of death, 
but that is a form of justice . 20 

Building on Sartre’s insight, Susan Brownmiller, in Against Our 


Will, linked the experience of black women in the United States 
with that of the sexualized Jewess: 

It is reasonable to conjecture that the reputation for un- 
bridled sensuality that has followed Jewish woman throughout 
history . . . has its origins in the Jewish woman’s historical 
experience of forcible rape, and is a projection onto them of 
male sex fantasies. In this respect, Jewish women and black 
women have a common bond: the reputation of lasciviousness 
and promiscuity that haunts black women in America today 
may be attributed to the same high degree of historical forcible 
rape . 21 

In this context, “forcible rape” (the word “forcible” underscoring 
the reality of rape) does not mean the rape of Jew by Jew or black 
by black or wife by husband or child by father or any other tribal or 
familial forced sex act. In this context “forcible rape” means rape by 
an outsider who is racially superior in a given social system and 
who expresses this racial superiority through rape. The same 
outsider may also rape women in his own group — also forcible rape 
though less often recognized as such — but racially motivated rape is 
a discrete historical reality and has meaning as a discrete phe- 
nomenon for both rapists and victims. 

The beautiful Jewess ravaged and dragged through the streets by 
her hair is still enticing, still vibrantly alive in the pool of sexual 
images that mystify the Jewish woman. But the Nazis in reality 
created a kind of sexual degradation that was — and remains — 
unspeakable. Even Sade did not dare to imagine what the Nazis 
created and neither did the Cossacks. And so the sexualization of 
the Jewish woman took on a new dimension. She became the carrier 
of a new sexual memory, one so brutal and sadistic that its very 
existence changed the character of the mainstream sexual imagina- 
tion. The concentration camp woman, a Jew — emaciated with 
bulging eyes and sagging breasts and bones sticking out all over and 
shaved head and covered in her own filth and cut up and whipped 
and stomped on and punched out and starved — became the hidden 
sexual secret of our time. The barely faded, easily accessible 

FORCE 145 

memory of her sexual degradation is at the heart of the sadism 
against all women that is now promoted in mainstream sexual 
propaganda: she in the millions, she naked in the millions, she 
utterly at the mercy of— in the millions, she to whom anything 
could be and was done — in the millions, she for whom there will 
never be any justice or revenge — in the millions. It is her existence 
that has defined contemporary mass sexuality, given it its distinctly 
and unabashedly mass-sadistic character. The Germans had her, 
had the power to make her. The others want her, want the power to 
make her. And it must be said that the male of a racially despised 
group suffers because he has been kept from having her, from 
having the power to make her. He may mourn less what has 
happened to her than that he did not have the power to do it. When 
he takes back his manhood, he takes her back, and on her he 
avenges himself: through rape, prostitution, and forced pregnancy; 
through despising her, his contempt expressed in art and politics 
and pleasure. This avenging — the reclamation of masculinity — is 
evident among Jewish and black males, though it is in no way 
limited to them. In fact, in creating a female degraded beyond 
human recognition, the Nazis set a new standard of masculinity, 
honored especially in the benumbed conscience that does not even 
notice sadism against women because that sadism is so ordinary. 

In his essay “Night Words,” literary critic George Steiner has 
recognized the assimilation of concentration camp values into the 
present erotic sensibility: 

The novels being produced under the new code of total 
statement shout at their personages: strip, fornicate, perform 
this or that act of sexual perversion. So did the S.S. guards at 
rows of living men and women. The total attitudes are not, I 
think, entirely distinct. There may be deeper affinities than we 
as yet understand between the “total freedom” of the uncen- 
sored erotic imagination and the total freedom of the sadist. 
That these two freedoms have emerged in close historical 
proximity may not be coincidence. Both are exercised at the 
expense of someone else’s humanity, of someone else’s most 
precious right — the right to a private life of feeling. “ 


This cautious statement avoids the two crucial specifics: Jews and 
women. It is not that only women were sexually abused or that the 
sadism in every aspect of the camps had only to do with women. 
On the contrary, men and boys were sexually used and castrated, 
giving credence to the idea that unrestrained male sadism would not 
be gender specific. It is not that only Jews were imprisoned and 
killed: many other groups, including Gypsies, Poles, and homosex- 
uals, were also captured and slaughtered. The importance of the 
two specifics — Jew and woman — resides in the resonating power of 
sexual memory. It is her image — hiding, running, captive, dead — 
that evokes the sexual triumph of the sadist. She is his sexual 
memory and he lives in all men. But this memory is not recognized 
as a sexual fact, nor is it acknowledged as male desire: it is too 
horrible. Instead, she wants it, they all do. The Jews went 
voluntarily to the ovens. 

The central question is not: what is force and what is freedom? 
That is a good question, but in the realm of human cruelty — the 
realm of history — it is utterly abstract. The central question is: why 
is force never acknowledged as such when used against the racially 
or sexually despised? Nazi terror used against the Jews is not in 
dispute. Still, there is an almost universal — and intrinsically anti- 
Semitic — conviction that the Jews went voluntarily to the ovens. 
Rational discourse on how the Jews were terrorized does not 
displace or transform this irrational conviction. And similarly, no 
matter what force is used against women as a class or as individuals, 
the universal conviction is that women want (either seek out or 
assent to) whatever happens to them, however awful, dangerous, 
destructive, painful, or humiliating. A statement is made about the 
nature of the Jew, the nature of the woman. The nature of each and 
both is to be a victim. A metaphysical victim is never forced, only 

The ideology that justifies force against the metaphysical victim 
and then renders it invisible appears to be contradictory, whereas in 
fact it is all-encompassing. Hitler painted the Jewish male as a 
rapist, a despoiler of Aryan women. He painted the Jewish female 

FORCE 147 

as a harlot, wild, promiscuous, the sensuous antithesis of the Aryan 
female, who was blond and pure. Both male and female Jews were 
characterized as bestial in their sexuality. The wild animal is 
dangerous and must be caged. Hitler's first and most basic anti- 
Semitic appeal was not economic, that is, the Jews control the 
money; it was sexual — and it was the sexuality of the Jews, as 
portrayed by Hitler, that provoked the German response. Real 
manhood demanded that the sexual beasts be tamed so that pure 
Aryan women would not be ravished by the lustful Jew, and Aryan 
sperm, lured by the lascivious Jewess, would not be misspent in 
producing half-breeds. This is the paradigm of racist sexual 
ideology — every racially despised group is invested with a bestial 
sexual nature. So the force is marshaled and the terror is executed. 
The men are conquered, castrated, killed. The women are raped, 
sterilized, tortured, killed. When the terror subsides, the survivors 
are reevaluated: previously seen as animals, now they are not 
recognizable as animal or human. They are garbage, remains, 
degraded beyond recognition They are seen as compliant, submis- 
sive, passive. They did not have to be conquered or tamed or 
terrorized: they are too pitiful, too ruined. The use of force is 
erased — it has no meaning — because these battered survivors must 
have complied, consented: how else could they have been degraded 
to such an appalling degree? The sexual nature of the metaphysical 
victim — rapist or harlot — provokes force. The sexual nature of the 
metaphysical victim — passive, submissive — erases force as the 
authentic reason for compliance or submission. 

The same sexual ideology that both justifies force and makes it 
invisible is applied to all women, without reference to race, because 
women are metaphysical victims: actualized, not forced. 

The female is seen as sexual provocateur (harlot) or sexual 
submissive or combinations thereof. “Good woman/bad woman" or 
“Madonna/whore” as catchwords do not accurately describe the 
male conceptualization of female nature(s), though each is popular 
as a coded reference to the female dilemma. Each phrase denotes a 
conceptual polarity, commonly thought of as “two sides of the same 
coin.” But in male ideology, the elements of harlot and submissive 


are not really distinct because they are applied simultaneously or 
sequentially in any proportions to any woman in any circumstance. 
Rather than being u two sides of the same coin,” the harlot- 
submissive elements are more like the elements in an hourglass: 
always the same, always present, yet the proportions shift relative 
to each other, the shifts being manipulated by the one who 
manipulates the hourglass. 

Havelock Ellis maintained that “. . . the primary part of the 
female in courtship is the playful, yet serious, assumption of 
the role of a hunted animal who lures on the pursuer, not with the 
object of escaping, but with the object of being finally caught .” 23 
Here her resistance is a form of provocation that enables her to 
submit. Ellis considered “modesty” the single most important 
defining characteristic of the female. In his world view, which is so 
significant because his study is the first modern codification of male 
sexual values, force is required to conquer modesty: “Force is the 
foundation of virility, and its psychic manifestation is courage. In 
the struggle for life violence is the first virtue. The modesty of 
women — in its primordial form consisting in physical resistance, 
active or passive, to the assaults of the male — aided selection by 
putting to the test man’s most important quality, force. Thus it is 
that when choosing among rivals for her favors a woman attributes 
value to violence .” 24 This view of sex exists with or without 
reference to genes, hormones, and the like. It is old and it is new. It 
is male. It means that a woman naturally resists force because she 
wants to be conquered by it. It means that the violence she resists is 
ultimately what she values. It means that she is responsible for 
giving violence its sexual value by selecting the violent male. It 
demands that one believe that once the violent male has captured 
her, it is she who has selected, she who has made the choice. This is 
the fate of the metaphysical victim: to be seen as responsible for the 
violence used against her. She wants it, they all do. The violence 
used against her is never a measure of her authentic resistance. Her 
final submission is not seen as the triumph of terrorism; it is seen as 
her nature, her choice — her design all along. The simple, self- 

FORCE 149 

evident equation between the force of the aggressor and the will of 
the victim — that force means a violation of will — is never plausible 
when the one violated is a woman. Given the premises of this 
utterly irrational belief system, it is then easy to assert, as Ellis 
does, that women like the pain inevitably inflicted on them by the 
sexual violence of men: “While in men it is possible to trace a 
tendency to inflict pain, or the simulacrum of pain, on the women 
they love, it is still easier to trace in women a delight in 
experiencing physical pain when inflicted by a lover, and an 
eagerness to accept subjection to his will. Such a tendency is 
certainly normal .” 25 

Masochism, then, is defined as synonymous with normal femi- 
ninity as it manifests in normal women. As expressed so gracelessly 
by Theodor Reik in Of Love and Lust : “Feminine masochism of the 
woman? Sounds like a pleonasm. It is comparable to an expression 
like, ‘the Negro has dark skin.’ But the color of the skin is defined 
simply by the term Negro; a white Negro is no Negro .” 26 For a 
white in a white-supremacist society, the color of the skin deter- 
mines race; it is an oppressor’s criterion, not authentically derived 
from the experiences of those measured by it. The white determines 
that the color of the skin is the measure of identity, whether or not 
the color of the skin corresponds to racial, social, cultural, or 
familial history or experience of the ones defined from the outside. 
The essence of oppression is that one is defined from the outside by 
those who define themselves as superior by criteria of their own 
choice. That is why women are defined — from the outside, by 
men — as masochistic. Masochism is intrinsically both provocation 
and submission. The ideology that justifies force against women, 
and at the same time makes that force invisible, requires that 
masochism be the normal female state: she wants it, they all do. But 
since masochism defined more specifically as sexual gratification 
that is derived from pain manifests in some few men, the 
masochism of the female — even that — must be seen as inferior to 
the masochism of men. The Active dichotomy of absolute male and 
female sexual natures rooted in anatomical differences must be 


maintained; otherwise — especially when it is acknowledged that the 
male is capable of masochism — male sexual supremacy might be 
perceived as delusional. Reik’s solution is dazzlingly simple: 

But how does it happen that in female masochism the 
ferocity and resoluteness, the aggressiveness and the vigor of 
the male masochism is missing? I believe personally that the 
anatomical situation does not permit the cultivation of a strong 
sadism within the woman. The prerequisite of the penis as the 
carrier of aggression is missing . 27 

Masochism in the male is transformed into a form of sadism. He 
suffers to conquer; she suffers to submit. 

In Sexual Excitement , Robert Stoller psychoanalyzes his pseudon- 
ymous but eloquently named patient, Belle. Interpreting Belle’s 
sexual fantasy life, Stoller discovers that female suffering is an 
occasion for female triumph: 

Secreted in the apparent suffering is the triumph. The way is 
open to full pleasure. What better disguise than to display 
publicly the opposite — suffering — of what one is secretly or 
unconsciously experiencing: revenge, undoing, triumph. She 
has even more control than all these brutal, powerful men. 
They try to dominate her, but nothing they can do . . . 
enslaves her. Instead, she belongs to herself, ultimately at the 
mercy only of her own oversexed nature . 28 

The ideological commitment on the part of the male thinker here is 
clear: Belle chooses to suffer and the “brutal, powerful men” do 
what she wants. Stoller’s vehicle for his ideology is so-called 
fantasy: he is describing and analyzing Belle’s sexual fantasy which 
she “authored”; so the concept of choice is particularly underscored. 
Rather than seeing the sexual images in Belle’s inner life as symbolic 
images — symbolic of a sexual reality in which she is used, trapped, 
humiliated, angry, powerless to change the values of the men who 
devalue her — Stoller attributes her sexual masochism as expressed 
in her inner life to her own free choice. The conceit, popular with 
psychiatrists and psychologists, is that a free mind can exist within 

FORCE 1 5 1 

a colonialized body. According to Stoller, Belle chooses sexual 
masochism because through it she triumphs over men whom 
ultimately she controls because she is the provocation to which they 
respond. This is an expression “of her own oversexed nature.” She 
wants it, they all do. 

The limitless possibilities of female choice are articulated with 
slightly different emphasis by Georges Bataille: 

. . . prostitution is the logical consequence of the feminine 
attitude. In so far as she is attractive, a woman is a prey to 
men’s desire. Unless she refuses completely because she is 
determined to remain chaste, the question is at what price and 
under what circumstances will she yield. But if the conditions 
are fulfilled she always offers herself as an object. Prostitution 
proper only brings in a commercial element . 29 

Bataille introduces the all-or-nothing variant: she can choose to be 
chaste or she can choose to be whore. The assertion that she has 
even this choice — that she can choose chastity — ignores the whole 
history of the world, in which rape is the perpetual sexual motion of 
the male. Any so-called choice for sex is a choice for prostitution. 
Since she is prey “in so far as she is attractive,” she can choose 
chastity only insofar as she is not attractive. Once raped she is, ipso 
facto, attractive because she has attracted a predator. Once raped, 
retroactively speaking, she has chosen — chosen her prostitute 
nature. Since she is prey “in so far as she is attractive,” forced sex 
reveals the prostitute nature that is her true nature “in so far as she 
is attractive.” If a man wants her and takes her, she is a whore and 
has made a choice. No matter what is done to or with her, the idea 
is that she has chosen her “price” and “circumstances.” 

The meaning of force is also obscured by the liberal view, which 
grants that there is a social tendency to degrade women but assumes 
that women who want to resist can do so successfully. This means 
that women who are in fact mercilessly degraded bring it on 
themselves. In The Homosexual Matrix , a book saturated with 
misogyny and condescension toward all women, homosexual or 
not, C. A. Tripp insists that “. . . a woman’s status is highly 


variable. It is determined more by how she conducts herscif than by 
other people’s predispositions toward her.” 10 If she does not want 
it, she does not get it. If she gets it, she wants it. Tripp describes a 
woman’s rugged, willful descent to the bottom: “To take an extreme 
example, not even in the most chauvinistic societies is a wife a 
drudge on her wedding day, or for some time following. It is as if 
she only slowly works her way down to this level (admittedly with 
the help of social pressures) . . Requisite to this view is Tripp’s 
conviction, based on faith, not fact: “Nor in any era has the 
individual woman suffered low status whenever she has been 
‘willful’ or has simply had the power — be it political, financial, or 
social — to express her independence or even her own choices.”” A 
simple exercise of individual will can supposedly establish a woman 
as an exception to what is acknowledged as the generally demor- 
alized status of her kind. A failure to exercise this will is a bona fide 
choice: since one can, if one does not, then one has chosen not to. 
The use of the exception (with reference to women more imagined 
than not) to reconcile all the rest to the rule is clearly shown for 
what it is in this resourceful example from R. H. Tawney’s 
Equality , an analysis of class oppression in England: 

It is possible that intelligent tadpoles reconcile themselves to 
the inconveniences of their position, by reflecting that, though 
most of them will live and die as tadpoles and nothing more, 
the more fortunate of the species will one day shed their tails, 
distend their mouths and stomachs, hop nimbly on to dry land, 
and croak addresses to their former friends on the virtues by 
means of which tadpoles of character and capacity can rise to be 
frogs. This conception of society may be described, perhaps, as 
the Tadpole Philosophy, since the consolation which it offers 
for social evils consists in the statement that exceptional 
individuals can succeed in evading them.” 

Women, alas, become Mrs. Frog or frog’s girl. Should the female 
aspire to be a frog in her own right — as an intellectual or artist or 
lawyer or anything outside the realm of femininity (harlotry and 
submission) — she will be, as Mary Wollstonecraft described, 

FORCE 1 5 3 

“hunted out of society as masculine.”’ 4 The force of the hunt, the 
violence intrinsic to it, is justified by the deviance of the one 

And so there is a woman, tied with black rope, hands chained 
together at the wrists above her head, her body constrained by laser 
beams that crisscross in front of and behind her body. She is “an 
exquisite volunteer.” And so there is a woman, her ankles man- 
acled, laser beams appearing to penetrate her vagina. The laser cuts 
as well as burns. The laser is used in surgery. The laser functions as 
a knife. Vagina means sheath. She is “an exquisite volunteer.” She 
volunteers to be what she is, what all women are: harlot and 
submissive in one, her presence and representation an affirmation 
and an echo of her essence as a woman — she wants it, they all do. In 
describing the laser, one pioneer in the field said that “[l]ight has 
become something not only to look with, but also a palpable force to 
be reckoned with.’” 5 Used as a sadistic weapon against a woman in 
pornography, a laser cannot be regarded as a palpable force or any 
force at all because force has no reality when used against a 
metaphysical victim: she is always “an exquisite volunteer” — 
expressing her own free will and/or actualizing her own true nature. 
She wants it, they all do. 

The scene is a Mexican jail. 

First photograph, two full pages: A Mexican policeman holds a 
rifle butt in the back of a Mexican woman. The rifle butt pushes her 
up against the bars of a cell. An Anglo man in the cell is holding the 
woman around the waist with one hand, lifting her T-shirt to reveal 
her breasts with the other. 

Second photograph, one full page: The woman is on her knees. 
Her denim shorts are pulled down to her ankles. Her T-shirt is 
raised above her breasts. Her hands are brought together as if in 
prayer. The policeman is sitting, his uniform open to reveal a hairy 
chest, balls, and semierect cock. In one hand he holds the keys to 
the jail cell. With the other hand, he points to his penis. 

Third photograph, one full page: The woman is supporting 
herself on her hands, she is on all fours except that her knees are 


raised slightly off the floor. The policeman, sitting, is apparently 
fucking her in the ass. 

Fourth, fifth, and sixth photographs, two full pages: In the fourth 
photograph, the policeman sits drinking tequila from a bottle. The 
woman sits on the floor masturbating. The man in the cell holds the 
arm of the woman and watches her masturbate. He and the woman 
hold the keys to the cell. In the fifth photograph, the woman is 
naked. Her arms are stretched to hold the top crossbar of the 
doorway of the now open cell. The Anglo man holds her from 
behind around the waist. He appears to be fucking her. In the sixth 
photograph, the Anglo man is sitting on the bed in the cell. His 
hands are embracing the woman’s back. The woman is on her 
knees. Her ass is in the forefront of the photograph. Labia hang 
between her legs. 

Seventh photograph, two full pages: The woman is on the bed in 
the cell, legs spread, vulva bright pink, masturbating. The skin just 
below her knee is badly bruised. The Anglo man is on his knees on 
the floor. His ass is emphasized by his position. His mouth is 
approaching her breast. In the background, through the bars of the 
cell, the policeman is sleeping, his rifle upright beside him. 

Eighth photograph, one full page: The Anglo man and the 
woman are on the bed. Her vulva, painted pink, is exposed by the 
spread of her legs. His hand is on the inside of her thigh. Her hand 
is just above his balls. 

Ninth photograph, one full page: The woman is on top, the man 
is under her, they appear to be fucking, he appears to be completely 
inside her. 

Tenth photograph, two full pages: The woman lies in the 
forefront masturbating, her vulva is extremely pink, the man 
reclines behind her. The bruises on the woman’s leg are in the 
forefront of the photograph. 

According to the text, printed within the photographic frames, 
the woman is named Consuela (“consolation”). Consuela has a 
Yankee boyfriend. He got into a fight in a bar and was arrested. 
Consuela cannot bear to be without him; so, “driven by passion, she 
bribes her way past her lover’s jailer. The guard has no trouble 

FORCE 155 

getting it up for the hot-blooded senorita, but he’s a mite greedy. 
Finally, he OD’s on lust (and tequila)." The boyfriend “has had to 
watch and now he’s a little greedy himself.” The moral of the story 
is that “[a] spell in jail doesn’t seem such a terrible fate after all.” 
Everyone’s skin is approximately the same color, a light brown. 
Consuela and the policeman have black hair. The policeman has a 
black mustache. The boyfriend has lighter hair, still brown, and he 
too has a mustache with stubble making a dark, shadowy beard. 
Consuela’s lips are painted a glossy pinkish red, her nails are a 
duller red, her vulva is pink. She wears a bright red flower behind 
one ear. Consuela’s facial expressions indicate rapture, except in the 
photograph in which she is being fucked in the ass by the 
policeman — there her expression indicates pain and rapture. Her 
boyfriend’s expressions indicate rapture. The policeman’s face is 
hard and indifferent. One never sees his eyes. They are always 
either blocked by the visor on his policeman’s cap, which he wears 
throughout, or they are closed. Consuela is “the hot-blooded 
senorita,” the ethnic slur cast so as to be both specific (she is 
Mexican) and evocative (she is the hot-blooded Latin or Hispanic 
woman, the hot woman of the south, Carmen Miranda or D. H. 
Lawrence’s mythic Etruscan female). She is the woman sexed by 
the climate. The color of her skin signals the climate. The climate 
signals the color of her skin. The text refers to “Siesta time” and 
“the sticky heat” and the cockroaches in the cell, so that the heat of 
the climate is part of the sexual imagery. The heat of the climate 
heats the blood of “the hot-blooded senorita,” heats her skin, heats 
her sex. She happily offers herself to the policeman because she 
must be fucked by her boyfriend. In the Anglo-Amerikan sexual 
lexicon, the Latin or Hispanic woman is the woman who cannot do 
without it. She begs for it. With Mexicans and Puerto Ricans 
among the poorest of the poor in the United States and with 
Mexicans particularly despised and exploited as aliens, the photo- 
graphs have a cruel immediacy. The depiction of “the hot-blooded 
senorita” who is willing to do anything — even to submit sexually to 
one of her own kind — in order to be fucked by her Anglo boyfriend 
embodies an imperial malice. She is used by the Mexican policeman 


but she belongs to the Anglo boyfriend. She prostitutes herself for 
him, not because he wants it, but because she wants it. 

Once the male figure enters the pornographic picture, he himself 
is not enough. The paraphernalia of manhood must enter with him: 
especially uniforms and guns. His sexual force must be emphasized 
through reiteration: the jail bars (especially when her body is 
stretched up against them), the rifle (especially when it is pushed 
against her from behind), the policeman as a figure of brute force, 
even huge cacti drawn to look like phalluslike growths outside the 
windows throughout the photographs. The presence of two males is 
in and of itself a reiteration of male sexual force, even though each 
male figure has a different racial * significance. The pictorial center 
is the woman: she is visually lush; she is sexually used. But the 
drama, such as it is, is in the racial and sexual tension between the 
two men. 

The Mexican male is the figure of overt force and brute sexuality. 
Every aspect of his stance expresses the brutality of the fuck and a 
corresponding incapacity to feel. He is the insensitive brute. He 
fucks the woman without taking off his pants or hat or shirt. When 
he is finished with her, he drinks tequila from a bottle. The Anglo 
boyfriend, by contrast, is presented as a sensitive figure: he is, in 
contrast, the delicate lover. His face always expresses rapture. He is 
slighter in build than the Mexican male, taller, even more deiicate 
in his physique. A basic opposition of light and dark is established, 
even though the skin colors of the two males are approximately the 
same: the Anglo’s hair is lighter, he has less chest hair — even the 
relative delicacy of build contributes to the stereotypical light-dark 

*The power relationship is racist, even though the literal distinction 
between the two men is ethnic. Racism is not comprehensible as a 
phenomenon based on color of skin alone: for instance, anti-Semitism is a 
form of racism regardless of whether Jews are noticeably darker than the 
non-Jewish population and regardless of whether the Jewish genetic pool in 
question forms a distinct and verifiable race. The perception of a group as 
not-white and an actual history of contempt, exploitation, and abuse based 
on that perception mark as racist the relationship of a white-superior group 
to any other group not perceived as part of that white-superior group. 

FORCE 1 57 

contrast. The Anglo does more than fuck the woman; he touches 
her, approaches her nipple, puts his hand on her thigh, sleeps 
peacefully while she — never having enough — masturbates. Com- 
pared with the Mexican male, he expresses a delicacy of feeling as 
well as a delicacy of touch. This, indeed, is basic to racist sexual 
ideology: the white male is the civilized male, the bearer of a 
civilized sexuality. The darker male, the inferior male, has a brute 
sexual nature. Yet the white male is in Mexico, in a Mexican jail. 
The power relationship between the two men puts the Mexican on 
top: it is the white male who, without the woman present, is 
endangered by the brute sexuality of the Mexican. The danger is 
most clearly conveyed in the two-page photograph in which the 
woman masturbates as the white male approaches her nipple; he is 
down on his knees on the floor as she lies legs spread on the bed, his 
ass is prominently displayed, behind his ass is the sleeping 
policeman with his rifle upright beside him. The white male, as the 
delicate male, is the sexually endangered male. The rifle is the 
phallic presence, near entry to the vulnerable ass of the white male. 
The white male is captive; the Mexican male is captor. The 
sexuality of the white male is depicted as superior in sensitivity. 
The sexuality of the Mexican male is depicted as superior in terms 
of brute sexual force. The racially degraded male is, in fact, 
consistently depicted in this fashion: his alleged sexual nature, 
being brute and thus bestial, is precisely what licenses violence 
against him in a racist value system. His sexuality is a savage 
masculinity, while the phallus of the white carries civilization to the 
dark places. This is the nexus of sex and race. If women really 
amount to nothing, are worth nothing, then the conquest of them — 
except for the momentary pleasure of it — means nothing, proves 
nothing. It is not sustaining. It cannot sustain a sense of masculine 
superiority because the conquest of nothing is nothing. But the 
conquest of other men, especially men with a more massive, more 
brute sexuality, does amount to something. It is sustaining because 
the conquest of bigger, better cock is the ultimate conquest. And 
here one finds the bribe. The racially degraded male collaborates in 
the degradation of women — all women — because he is offered 


something important for his complicity: an acknowledgment of a 
sexuality of which the racially superior male is envious. There is 
praise in the insult, so much praise, or such essential praise, that the 
racially degraded male is mesmerized by the myth of his own 
masculinity, mesmerized into accepting the ideology that posits the 
force of his sex as his identity, even though this myth often costs 
him his life. The solution then seems simple: he will avenge himself 
on the women of the racially superior group through taboo sexual 
relations or he will take back his own women using his sexuality 
against them. He cannot see his way clear to making an alliance 
with women — even the women of his peer group — based on sexual 
justice because he has accepted the bribe: masculinity belongs to 
him; he brings it to its purest expression; to contaminate it through 
empathy with the female would mean weakening or losing it, the 
one thing he has, masculinity. And so, in Hispanic communities in 
the United States, one sees the cult of machismo, the cult of 
masculine suicide, lived to its fullest: gang warfare, the organized 
supermasculine packs that maim and kill each other because 
masculine pride depends on it. The bribe, once accepted by the 
racially degraded male of any group, insures that if the racially 
superior male does not kill him, he will kill himself. The triumph of 
masculinity is realized in the triumph of male over male, whether 
the sphere of conflict for dominance is intraracial or interracial. The 
genius of the bribe is in the fact that, metaphorically speaking, no 
matter which gang wins the battle, the white man wins the war. 
The sexuality of the racially degraded male — the only capacity 
allowed him — becomes both jusification for taming or colonializing 
or castrating him and the mechanism by which he destroys himself, 
because he honors masculinity as authentic identity. 

The essential sexual antagonism that is basic to racism is 
expressed as if the possession of women were the issue, but 
fundamentally the antagonism is homoerotic. Antagonism is estab- 
lished in male sexual thought as a key element in sexual excitement. 
The importance of antagonism, proclaimed with trumpets and 
fanfare by sexual philosophers when the conflict is male-female, is 
understated when applied to race because its fascist content is more 

FORCE 159 

easily perceived. For instance, Tripp consistently maintains that 
wife beating is an expression of an erotic, exciting sexual antago- 
nism. So did Havelock Ellis, and this assertion is common in the 
ruminations of the male sexual philosophers. In describing the 
systematic devaluing of the female, Tripp can point to the sexual 
benefits of this devaluing. It increases sexual antagonism, which 
increases sexual pleasure: 

From this vantage point it is evident that the many deroga- 
tions of women are more than merely the incidental offshoots of 
male supremacy and female ‘inferiority.” They also qualify as 
contrivances that sharpen the breach between the sexes, 
increase the tension (resistance) between them, and add spice to 
their relations . 36 

Has a liberal, serious thinker ever postulated that racial insults or 
the violence of white supremacy adds “spice” to race relations? 
Instead, the thinker (in this case Tripp) is more circumspect: “The 
clash between social levels, between races, between partners who 
are dispositionally mismatched can all lead to arousing situations as 
easily, or more easily, than contacts between conventionally 
compatible partners .” 37 

Stoller carries the notion of antagonism, which he calls hostility 
or resistance, into the realm of danger: 

To me, “excitement” implies anticipation in which one alter- 
nates with extreme rapidity between expectation of danger and 
just about equal expectation of avoidance of danger, and in 
some cases, such as in eroticism, of replacing danger with 
pleasure . 38 

The heightening of sexual pleasure in the male system demands a 
heightening of antagonism, an intensification of danger — and in a 
racist society, racial conflict represents the most keenly felt, the 
most dangerous, form of antagonism: this alone is enough to give it 
its sexual value in the male system. In rigid class societies, class has 
the same value. Possession of the woman is presented as the reason 
for the antagonism, whereas in fact it is the antagonism that gives 


value to possession of the woman. The antagonism that counts in 
the sexual sphere is the antagonism between male and male because 
it is between two real (that is, phallic) beings. A racist male 
hierarchy heightens this antagonism and further sexualizes the 
male-male interactions that take place over and through women’s 
bodies. This sexualization occurs both in men elevated and in men 
demeaned by the racist system. But the elevated male tells a lie: he 
claims that he is afraid that the brute sexuality of the racially 
degraded male will be used against “his” women. In fact, he is 
afraid that this sexuality will be used against him. This is the 
meaning of the pornographic depiction of the Anglo in a Mexican 
jail, his ass exposed and highlighted next to the erect rifle of a 
Mexican policeman — this depiction published in the United States, 
where the power relationship in reality is precisely the opposite. 
Since sexual force used against the white male is recognized as 
force, it need only be suggested to provoke racial hatreds — one of 
the main functions of pornography since these hatreds are highly 
sexualized. To make the sexual tension pleasurable, a resolution is 
provided. The woman is the resolution. The sexual use of the 
racially degraded female, common usage, allows the male viewer, 
whatever his background or ethnic values, to experience the male- 
male sexual antagonism not as anguish but as pleasure: she can be 
fucked by both of them, used by both of them, because she begs for 
it, she cannot do without it. Her usage protects — in this case — the 
white male from violation by the Mexican male. Neither male 
violates her because she cannot do without it. She is not forced; she 
begs for it. 

The feature is called “The Art of Dominating Women.” It consists 
of four black-and-white photographs and a “case history” with an 
introduction by a “Dr.” The first photograph is a full page. A white 
woman, very white skin, dark hair, gagged, her wrists bound 
together by rope, hangs suspended by her bound wrists from a light 
fixture. Her legs are spread. Each ankle is tied by rope to the thigh 
of the same leg. She is wearing sheer black tights that cover the legs 

FORCE 161 

and stop at the waist. She is wearing black high heels. A workman 
dressed in overalls is squeezing one of her breasts apparently to 
pulp. The next three photographs are all three inches by two and a 
half inches. They are the middle column of a page, with the print of 
the accompanying story on each side. The second photograph, the 
first of the small ones, shows the woman on her back, her legs 
spread open, her knees flexed. She wears a black corset that goes 
from her waist to just below her nipples, apparently squeezing the 
breasts tightly. She is gagged and the gag is reinforced with some 
kind of metal contraption that fastens behind her neck. Her hands, 
raised above her head, are fastened by white chains that are 
wrapped around her arms and around her neck. Her legs, flexed at 
the knees, are bound, thigh to calf of each separate leg, by various 
metal contraptions and straps. There are so neany metal or leather 
constraints on each leg that flesh is barely visible, except right 
between her legs, the pubic area. Her ankles are manacled. The 
third photograph, the second small one, shows the woman tied at 
her wrists and above her elbows by white rope, arms raised over her 
head, gagged. The workman in overalls is grabbing her breast. He 
is approaching the breast with pliers. The fourth photograph, the 
third small one, shows the gagged woman to just below her breasts. 
The hand with the pliers is also in the picture. The pliers appear to 
be cutting her breast. The feature promises “[i]ntimate details of a 
thoroughly submissive female and the incredible excesses she 
requires for total satisfaction.” The doctor explains that all relation- 
ships are really sadomasochistic. The doctor explains that the sadist 
is a leader, a guide, and that this role properly falls to the male. The 
doctor explains that with the growth of the women’s movement 
more men than usual seem to be sexually submissive but, never 
fear, the male will never give up or lose his role of leadership. The 
doctor explains that most men remain interested in the genuinely 
submissive woman. The doctor explains that in his private practice 
as a sexologist he has met many such women and he is now going to 
open up his private files so that the reader can delve, be edified, and 
masturbate. The “case history” is as follows. She finds her life 


confusing. She is without purpose. She needs guidance. Also, she 
remembers her father squeezing her when she was a child. For 
these reasons, she likes to be bound, gagged, humiliated, and badly 
hurt: “nothing will get my snatch drippier.” She can manage to get 
off while being beaten with a hairbrush if she is handcuffed. The 
most extreme bondage she experienced almost killed her. She was 
bound at the feet and wrists and hung by the neck until she began 
suffocating. She prefers being tied to a footstool, each of her arms 
and legs bound separately to separate legs of the stool while she is in 
a nylon straitjacket. The best fun she ever had was with a man who 
owned a complete supply of bondage equipment of a certain brand: 
she lists the items in two separate paragraphs of considerable 
length. As much as she enjoys all of this for its own sake, she also 
enjoys the thrill of finding the man who will do all these things to 
her. She takes to the streets and finds Puerto Ricans. She explains 
Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status, explains that the island of 
Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean, explains that Puerto Rican males 
are to be found in large numbers in urban areas of the United 
States. She explains that Puerto Rican men have huge cocks and a 
peculiar view of maleness called machismo. She found Carlos on a 
street corner. He was drinking rum from a bottle. He had a huge 
bulge in his pants. She told him in Spanish that she was a witch and 
wanted him to fuck her. They took a cab to her house, petted in the 
traffic. He was wearing bikini underpants, which she claims is 
another thing one can count on with Puerto Ricans. They reached 
her home, smoked a joint, put on a disco record. The hair on his 
body was cinnamon. She is very white, twenty-two years old, very 
thin, with big breasts and a big ass, “the kind that begs to be 
spanked.” Her pussy smells sweet, has a good grip, and the hair on 
her head, under her armpits, and in the pubic area all matches. 
Carlos sucked her tits, they kissed and smeared saliva all over. He 
whispered in her ear a lot. She could not wait any longer. She 
grabbed his cock. It was incredible ! She sucked on it and then he 
took over. He grabbed her neck, shoved his fingers into her vagina, 
then into her ass, shoved his cock down her throat, hit her in the 
eye, smacked her a few times. She pushed his cock into her pussy: 

FORCE 163 

“It was so painful. If [sic] felt like a hot poker was being shoved into 
my body/' This was because it was so big. She wanted them both 
to experience the rapture of bondage simultaneously but seriously 
doubted that Carlos had the temperament for this. He agreed to 
handcuff her wrists behind her back, so she had to make do with 
imagining Carlos “restrained against Gothic pillars” as she was 
“trussed up and hogtied for his pleasure.” Then he fucked her in the 
ass and spanked her at the same time. Then he took off her 
handcuffs and put a noose around her neck that was attached to a 
dog collar. Then he ordered her to lick his ass clean, which she then 
did. Then he fucked her some more. Then he tied her to a Parsons 
table and gagged her with a leather belt. Then he fucked her in the 
ass. When he stopped she farted so he punished her for this breach 
of manners by biting her tits and ears until they bled. Then he beat 
her across the face with his cock. She kept trying to cry out “Fuck 
me. Fuck . . Fuck!!Fuck!!FUCK ME!” but the gag prevented her. 
So he just kept beating her face with his cock, which she compares 
to the Chrysler Building. She was certain that he would piss in her 
mouth but he did not, which disappointed her. Instead, he fucked 
her for a half hour: “[s]uch a sensation one gets only once in a 
lifetime, and I was lucky.” She knew the experience of total 
submission to a man: “being tied down, beaten to a pulp, and 
fucked with a big dick until there was hardly a hole left . . This 
was a “mystic” revelation “which spelled out in neon: ‘Woman, you 
are aliveV ” She then explains that for Carlos too this was the 
supreme experience of life. Finally Carlos came. Carlos collapsed 
over her body for nearly an hour. She was still tied to the Parsons 
table and gagged. She had to pee. Carlos untied her. She gave him a 
joint and some orange juice. They left her apartment together. She 
kissed him good-bye at the subway. On her way home she saw a 
beautiful Dominican man who asked her if she was the witch. She 
took him home. She concludes that having a reputation is a 
wonderful thing. 

Force here is acknowledged. The form the acknowledgment takes 
is celebration. Force, rendered invisible or insignificant in other 
instances of female degradation, is here the point and purpose of 


sex. Force is sex. The woman who wants sex wants force. Every 
possible emphasis on force is encouraged through violence against 
the woman’s body and through concentration on the mechanics and 
artifacts of bondage. The conceit is that this is a woman’s story told 
in a woman’s voice, a woman’s celebration of the force she seeks out 
so that she can submit to it, be hurt by it, and experience her 
transcendent femininity. This transcendent femininity is supposed 
to be the exclusive province of white women, sheltered, protected, 
spoiled, bossy. The white woman actively recruits the Puerto Rican 
male because of his huge cock and his “peculiar view” of mas- 
culinity called machismo. The white woman, the totally submissive 
woman, demands total force, total pain, total humiliation, at the 
hands of a male racially stereotyped as a sexual brute. She is the 
woman who demands it. The two poles of her existence as a white 
woman are underscored: she is boss; she is total submissive. The 
violence she requires is the measure of her need to submit. Her 
appetite for pain is insatiable. Short of death, which would not 
offend her if it were cruel enough, nothing done to her can harm her 
sufficiently to stop her from demanding it from the next (Hispanic) 
man and the next (Hispanic) man and the next (Hispanic) man, so 
great is her need to submit. This is the particular erotic significance 
given to white skin as a sexual symbol in the women of pornogra- 
phy: she is the boss who demands servicing, who demands force 
and violence and pain; she is insatiable; she is the unquenchable 
submissive whose femininity is fulfilled in the most abject degrada- 
tion. The force is recognized as real because she demands it. In this 
context, rape or battery cannot exist as violations of female will 
because they are viewed as expressions of female will. It is through 
the celebration of force — supposedly her celebration of it — that rape 
becomes just a better-quality fuck and battery becomes excellent 
foreplay. The white woman uses her racial superiority to demand 
rape, to demand battery, to demand humiliation, to demand pain. 
She wills these experiences and revels in them. The male complies. 
He is going his own way when she intervenes and demands. She is 
the initiator. She sets the terms. It is this sexualization of the white 
woman that is used as the standard sexuality of all womeq, unless 

FORCE 165 

specific racial characteristics are exploited to indicate particular 
modulations of sexuality. As many black feminists have pointed 
out, “women” almost always means “white women.” So all women 
are saddled with the supposed sexual nature of white women, while 
women of color have added onto that nature the sexual attributes 
imposed as a consequence of color in a society in which color is seen 
as deviant from the norm. Conversely and at the same time, sexual 
philosophers in white-supremacist societies search so-called primi- 
tive tribes, subcultures of persons of color, and societies in which 
persons of color are the majority for endless examples of wife 
beating and other sexual violence against women to demonstrate 
that such violence is natural (the natural will of women), not 
culture-bound. The sexuality of the woman of color is supposedly 
outside the constraints of civilization, that is, natural. The sexuality 
of the white woman is the norm of civilized sexuality. In both 
circumstances, the violence women experience is postulated as 
being the will of the women; in both circumstances, she wants it, 
they all do. The degree of force (force perceived as such) used 
against the white woman establishes the norm of force acceptable in 
sex in white-supremacist civilization. The degree of force, then, is 
without limit because she wants it to be. Nothing done to the 
female can possibly violate her because the white woman demands 
violence and pain; her demand gives force its sexual value. The 
white woman, the civilized woman, whose transcendent femininity 
is realized through submission, requires force. Force to exist as such 
requires violence. Violence inevitably means the infliction of pain. 
The norm of femininity as it manifests in normal women is 
masochism. Force actualizes femininity. Violence is sex. Pain is 
pleasure for the woman. The pornographic conceit is that the 
normal female demands the force, the violence, the pain. This 
pornographic conceit is precisely reiterated in the works of the most 
distinguished sexual philosophers, who as purveyors of male 
supremacy necessarily share the values implicit in it. This por- 
nographic conceit accounts for the fact that men in general do not 
believe that rape or battery are violations of female will. Film critic 
Molly Haskell, at the end of a decade of vigorous feminism in the 


United States, expressed the weary anger and astonishment of 
women who keep knocking their heads against this particular brick 


If we think talking it all out has brought us [men and women] 
closer together in the last few years, we have only to broach the 
subject of rape. Men seem incapable of understanding what 
rape means to a woman — the sense of total violation, or the 
mere threat of rape as a lifelong shadow over her freedom of 
movement. . . . 

The central division is between the sense of rape as an act of 
hostility and aggression, as women see and know and experi- 
ence it, and rape as an erotic act, as fantasized by men . 39 

Men do not believe that rape or battery are violations of female will 
in part because men of influence have consumed pornography in the 
private world of men for centuries. Men of sensibility and 
intelligence and cultural achievement have always incorporated its 
values into their mainstream cultural work in art, religion, law,* 
literature, philosophy, and now psychology, films, and so forth. In 
many cases, these otherwise thoughtful men have been educated 
about women and sex through pornography, which they see as 
hidden, forbidden sexual truth. The most enduring sexual truth in 
pornography — widely articulated by men to the utter bewilderment 
of women throughout the ages — is that sexual violence is desired by 
the normal female, needed by her, suggested or demanded by her. 
She — perpetually coy or repressed — denies the truth that pornogra- 
phy reveals. It is either/or. Either the truth is in the pornography or 
she tells the truth. But men are the tellers of truth and men are the 
creators of and believers in pornography. She is silenced al- 
together — she is not a voice in the cultural dialogue, except as an 
annoying or exceptional whisper — and when she speaks, she lies. 
She hides and denies what pornography reveals and affirms: that 
she wants it, they all do. He has the power of naming and in 

*The harlot nature of women is a premise of law relating to sexual violence 
against women. That is why it is nearly impossible for a woman to prove 
that she has been forced. 

FORCE 167 

pornography he uses it to name her slut: a lewd, dissolute, brazen 
thing, a whore always soliciting — begging or demanding to be used 
for what she is. Women, for centuries not having access to 
pornography and now unable to bear looking at the muck on the 
supermarket shelves, are astonished. Women do not believe that 
men believe what pornography says about women. But they do. 
From the worst to the best of them, they do. 

Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille was originally published in 
France in 1928. Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Peter Brook, 
and Susan Sontag among others have proclaimed it profound. Some 
call it “erotic” to distinguish it from the general pornographic 
sludge. Others, Sontag foremost among them, use it to argue that 
pornography of high quality — gracefully conceived and written — is 
art. This book — like Story of 0, The Image , and the works of Sade — 
has the weight of intellectual adulation behind it. 

The story is told by a narrator in the first person. He grew up 
alone and was frightened of the sexual. When he was sixteen he met 
Simone, the same age. Three days after they met they were alone at 
her villa. Simone was wearing a black pinafore. They were both 
anxious. He wanted her to be naked under her pinafore. She wore 
black silk stockings. He wanted to pick up her pinafore from behind 
to see her cunt, the word he considers the most beautiful one for 
vagina. There was a saucer of milk in a hallway for the cat. Simone 
put the saucer on a bench and sat down on it. He was transfixed. 
He was erect. He lay down at her feet. She stayed still. He saw her 
cunt in the milk. They were both overwhelmed. She stood up. He 
saw the milk dripping. She wiped herself with a handkerchief. He 
masturbated and writhed on the floor. They had simultaneous 
orgasm without touching each other. When Simone’s mother came 
home and Simone was snuggled in her mother’s arm, he lifted her 
pinafore from behind and thrust his hand between her legs. He 
hurried home to jerk off more. The next day he was so tired from 
masturbating that Simone told him not to masturbate without her 
anymore. They were intimate and driven. They never talked about 
it. They were in a car speeding and they crashed into a very young 
and very pretty girl on a bicycle, which nearly severed the girl’s 


head. They parked near the corpse and reacted to it as they always 
did to each other: orgasmically. The narrator recalls that they 
waited a long time before copulating. Instead they indulged in 
unusual acts. He recalls that when Simone asked him not to 
masturbate alone, she told him to lie down on the ground, pulled 
down his pants, mounted his belly with her back toward his face, 
while he put his fingers into her cunt. Then she, still with her back 
toward him, put her head between his legs and raised her cunt up, 
and asked him to pee up into her cunt. He pointed out that the 
urine would get on her face and dress. That was what she wanted, 
so first he peed all over her, then he came all over her. They lay 
together for a long time. Then they heard a noise. They saw 
Marcelle, who collapsed and cried. They tore themselves away 
from each other to descend on her. Together they generally maul 
her, a thunderstorm begins, Simone smears herself with mud, 
Simone forces herself between Marcelle’s thighs. Then Simone 
developed a craving for breaking eggs with her ass. The mother 
comes upon Simone performing for the narrator, but pretends she 
does not see. Days later, however, Simone, who was hoisted in the 
rafters of a garage with the narrator, pissed on her mother, who was 
walking underneath. Simone laughs and the narrator uncovers 
Simone’s cunt completely and jerks off. They run into Marcelle on 
the street one day. Marcelle is blond, shy, pious, innocent. Marcelle 
blushed. Simone begged her forgiveness and promised that they 
would never lay a hand on her again. Marcelle agrees to have tea 
with them with other friends. Instead, they have champagne. 
Marcelle’s blushing has completely enthralled them. Simone and he 
had a common purpose and nothing would stop them. There was 
Marcelle, three other pretty girls and two boys. The oldest was not 
yet seventeen. They all got drunk, but were not sufficiently excited. 
Simone put on a record and danced the Charleston by herself. She 
showed her legs up to her cunt. The other girls did the same. They 
had panties on. Marcelle refused to dance. Simone picks up a 
tablecloth and bets that she can pee into it in front of all of them. A 
boy dared her to do so. Since she immediately did, she won, at 
which point she pulled down the pants of the boy who had dared 

FORCE 169 

her. She also took off his shirt. Simone touched the boy, but she 
was obsessed with Marcelle, who was begging to leave. Simone fell 
on the floor, had a sexual fit, and kept telling the undressed boy to 
piss on her. Marcelle blushed. She said she wanted to take off her 
dress. The narrator tore it off and fell on her. Marcelle shut herself 
in a large antique bridal wardrobe in the room. She wanted to 
masturbate and to be left in peace. Marcelle pissed in the wardrobe. 
Marcelle cried and cried. The wardrobe was now her prison. Half 
an hour later, the narrator lets her out. She was feverish. She 
screamed violently on seeing him. He was smeared with blood 
because during the orgy shards of glass had cut two of the 
participants. One of the girls was throwing up. Simone was 
sleeping peacefully. Marcelle kept screaming horribly. People 
began coming. Marcelle kept screaming. The police were called. 
The narrator decides it would be best not to stay with his parents. 
He steals a gun from them and says he will kill himself and the 
police if they send the police to look for him. He travels near the 
seashore. He thinks he might kill himself but then thinks that his 
life must have some meaning. He slept in the woods during the day 
and at night he went to Simone’s. They went to the beach together. 
He kept taking hold of her cunt. They did not come that night, but 
embraced mouth to mouth. He and Simone lived in her room. Her 
mother accepted the situation. Marcelle had been put in a mental 
institution. The narrator tried to rape Simone in her bed but she 
refused to be treated like a housewife. She demands Marcelle. He is 
disappointed but agrees with her. They think about Marcelle 
pissing. Simone pisses on him. He pisses on her. He smears semen 
all over her face. She climaxes. She says that now, with her nose in 
his ass, he smells like Marcelle. They want to fuck but Marcelle 
must be there: 

Thus it was that our sexual dream kept changing into a 
nightmare. Marcelle’s smile, her freshness, her sobs, the sense 
of shame that made her redden and, painfully red, tear off her 
own clothes and surrender lovely blond buttocks to impure 
hands, impure mouths, beyond all the tragic delirium that had 


made her lock herself in the wardrobe to jerk off with such 
abandon that she could not help pissing — all these things 
warped our desires, so that they endlessly racked us . 40 

The narrator explains that Simone cannot forget that her own 
obscene behavior provoked Marcelle’s orgasm, howls, writhing, 
and so she needed Marcelle’s attitude to exaggerate and fully 
experience her own brazenness. So Simone’s cunt now became, for 
the narrator, a “profound, subterranean empire of a Marcelle” who 
was imprisoned: 

There was only one thing I understood: how utterly the 
orgasms ravaged the girl’s face with sobs interrupted by 
horrible shrieks. 

And Simone, for her part, no longer viewed the hot, acrid 
come that she caused to spurt from my cock without seeing it 
muck up Marcelle’s mouth and cunt . 41 

They could only think of Marcelle, especially hanging herself and 
dying. They went to the asylum. The wind became violent. A 
figure hangs a sheet from the window. It has a wet stain. Simone 
falls to the ground. It was Marcelle at the window. The stain was 
her urine, the result of jerking off. The narrator entered the 
asylum. He took off all his clothes. Someone is following him. A 
naked woman is in the window frame. She jumps down. He still 
has a gun in his hand. He considers chasing the woman to kill her. 
He is out of breath. He is excited by the revolver. A hand grabs his 
cock. Kisses are planted on his ass. He ejaculates into the face of his 
wonderful Simone. He fires the gun blindly. Simone and he start 
running. They look up at Marcelle’s sheet. One of the bullets had 
penetrated her window. Marcelle came to the window. They 
expected to see her fall dead from the bullet. Simone had taken off 
her clothes. Marcelle disappeared. Marcelle returned. They could 
see her beautiful body. She saw them. She called. She blushed. 
Simone jerks off. Marcelle does the same. Simone is wearing a black 
garter belt and black stockings. Marcelle is wearing a white garter 
belt and white stockings. The narrator explains certain, personal 

FORCE 1 71 

symbols: urine is associated with saltpeter, lightning with an 
antique ceramic chamber pot that he once saw. Since having been at 
the asylum, these images were associated with cunt and with 
Marcelle’s facial expressions. Then, his imagination would be 
saturated by light and blood, because Marcelle could not come 
without urinating. But back at the asylum, he and Simone had had 
to flee, both naked, bicycling, exhausted, sweating, but they still 
kept touching each other, he took off one of her stockings to wipe 
her body which smelled like debauchery. They kept bicycling. The 
leather seat stuck to Simone’s cunt. The bicycle fork was in the 
crevice of his ass. It occurred to him that if he and Simone died, it 
would be cosmic. His penis was absurdly rigid. Simone mastur- 
bated with more and more force on the leather seat. She was tom 
from the bicycle by pure joy and her naked body was hurled. He 
found her bleeding and unconscious. He threw himself on top of 
her and came, his teeth bared, his mouth drooling. Simone came to, 
so he revived from the orgasm over what he had thought was her 
corpse. He carried her home. Since he had just rescued the person 
he loved most and since he would see Marcelle soon, he slept. 
Simone’s recovery was slow. It was peaceful for him. The mother 
would come in to care for Simone and he would step into the 
bathroom. He would read items about violence to Simone from the 
newspapers. She was weak. She insisted that he throw hard-boiled 
eggs into the toilet. She would watch the eggs. He would suck out 
the insides in varying degrees so that they would sink to varying 
depths. Simone would sit on the toilet and watch the eggs under her 
cunt. Then Simone would have him flush the toilet. He would 
crack fresh eggs on the edge of the bidet and empty them under her. 
She would piss on them or swallow them from the bottom of the 
bidet. They imagined Marcelle. They wanted to put her in a 
bathtub full of fresh eggs. They wanted Marcelle to pee while 
crushing the eggs. Simone wanted him to hold Marcelle, who 
would have on garter belt and stockings; Simone, in a bathrobe wet 
with hot water, would get up on a chair and he would excite her 
breasts with a revolver that had been loaded and just fired; Simone 
would pour a jar of fresh cream on Marcelle’s anus and urinate on 


her robe or back or head while he would piss on Marcelle from the 
other side or on her breasts. Marcelle would also be free to piss. 
After such wonderful dreams, Simone would ask the narrator to lay 
her down on blankets by the toilet and she would stare at the eggs. 
He would lie down next to her. When the toilet was finally flushed, 
Simone would be happy. Simone was mesmerized when a half- 
sucked egg was suddenly invaded by water. She climaxed. Simone 
wanted to urinate but she did not so that she could feel pleasure. 
Her belly bloated up and her cunt swelled. The word urinate 
reminded her of terminate. The narrator continues with associations: 
eggs, eyes, razor, sun, the white of the eye, the yolk is the eyeball. 
Simone wants the narrator to promise to shoot eggs with his rifle 
when they go outside. He refuses. She continues associating: each 
of her buttocks is a peeled hard-boiled egg, urine is a gunshot, and 
so on. They decide to send for hot soft-boiled eggs without 
the shells. The mother brings them. They treat her like a maid. 
Simone sat on the toilet and they each ate an egg. He rubs the other 
eggs all over her and slowly drops each into the toilet. Nothing like 
this ever happened again, except once, which will be revealed later. If 
eggs came up in the conversation, they blushed. He fixes the 
bicycles and rigs up an attachment for Marcelle. They arrive at the 
asylum. Marcelle escapes. Marcelle wants to marry the narrator. 
He kisses her. Marcelle does not understand where she is or who 
she is with or what she is doing. Marcelle asks the narrator to 
protect her when the cardinal returns. They were lying in the 
forest. Simone asked who the cardinal was. Marcelle answers, the 
man who locked her in the wardrobe. Now the narrator under- 
stands why Marcelle was so frightened when he finally let her out of 
the wardrobe. He had been wearing a red cap and was covered in 
blood from deep cuts in a girl he had raped. Marcelle’s dress was 
pulled up and Simone and the narrator were so enchanted by the 
sight that they did not move. Simone urinated and climaxed and the 
force of this denuded her which then occasioned the narrator’s 
climax. The narrator gives more symbols: milky way, astral sperm, 
heavenly urine, broken egg, broken eye, rooster, cardinal, red. The 
narrator discourses on the nature of lewdness: he cares only for the 

FORCE 173 

dirty; decent people have “gelded eyes”; people like sexual pleasure 
only if it is insipid; his kind of debauchery soils everything 
including the whole universe. More symbols: moon with vaginal 
blood of mothers and sisters. He loved Marcelle but he did not 
mourn her. Her death was his fault. He sometimes locked himself 
up for hours to think about her but he wanted to start all over, for 
instance, by forcing her head into a toilet bowl. Marcelle hanged 
herself when she recognized the wardrobe. They cut her down and 
masturbated over the dead body. They fucked each other for the 
first time. Simone was still a virgin. The three of them were all 
calm. Simone pissed on the corpse. Marcelle belonged to them. 
They ran away to Spain. Simone had a rich English sponsor, Sir 
Edmond. Simone was indifferent to most things but her orgasms 
became more violent. Sir Edmond captured a streetwalker and had 
her locked in a pigsty where she was trampled in liquid manure by 
the pigs. Simone had the narrator fuck her outside the locked door 
as Sir Edmond jerked off. They went to numerous bullfights. They 
fucked in numerous environments, generally surrounded by stink 
and flies and urine. Simone demands the raw balls of a bull. Sir 
Edmond provides them. She wants to sit on them but cannot 
because of all the other people present. Sir Edmond, Simone, and 
the narrator become horribly excited. Simone bit into one of the 
raw balls. The bullfighter was killed. As the people screamed in 
horror, Simone had an orgasm. The bullfighter’s eye was dangling 
from his head. The three of them went to Seville because Simone 
was in a foul mood. Simone wore a flimsy dress that exposed her. 
They never stopped having sex. Sir Edmond would follow and 
masturbate. They go into a church. Don Juan is supposedly buried 
under the church. They laugh. Simone pisses. The urine makes 
Simone’s dress stick to her body. A woman is confessing in the 
church. Simone wants to watch. The woman leaves. Simone goes 
to confess. Simone jerks off as she confesses. Simone confesses that 
she is jerking off while confessing. Simone exposes herself to the 
priest. Simone opens the door to the priest. Simone grabs his cock. 
The priest hissed. Simone sucked his cock. Sir Edmond pulled the 
priest out of the confessional. They carried him to the vestry. They 


sat him in a wooden armchair. Simone slapped him, which gave the 
priest another erection. They stripped him and Simone pissed on 
his clothes. Simone jerked him off and sucked him while the 
narrator urinated in his nostrils. Then the narrator fucked Simone 
in the ass as she sucked the cock of the priest. Sir Edmond found 
the key to the tabernacle. Simone flagellated the cock of the priest 
with her teeth and tongue. Sir Edmond found hosts and a 
consecrated chalice. Sir Edmond lectures on the meaning of the 
blood of Christ, white wine which really means semen. Simone 
slammed the chalice against the skull of the priest. Simone sucked 
the cock of the priest. Simone hit the priest again on the face with 
the chalice. Simone undressed and the narrator fingerfucked her. 
The priest peed into the chalice. Sir Edmond then made him drink 
the urine. Simone jerked him off and sucked his cock. The priest 
crashed the chalice against a wall. The two men lift the priest up, 
the priest comes on the hosts that Simone held while jerking him 
off. They dropped the priest on the floor. They order him to fuck 
Simone. The priest refuses. Sir Edmond explains that a man 
hanging dies with an erection. They gag and tie the priest, strangle 
him as Simone mounts him. The priest comes and dies. The 
narrator has never been so in love with Simone and so content. 
Simone wants the priest’s eye. Sir Edmond cuts it out for her. 
Simone caressed the eye. Simone put the eye in her ass. The eye 
fell out onto the body of the corpse. Sir Edmond undressed the 
narrator. The narrator pounced on Simone. He fucked her hard 
while Sir Edmond rolled the eye all over them. Simone tells Sir 
Edmond to put the eye in her ass. He does. Simone takes the eye 
and puts it in her cunt. The narrator pulls her legs apart: “in 
Simone's hairy vagina, I saw the wan blue eye of Marcelle , gazing at 
me through tears of urine .” 42 Simone climaxes and pees. They leave 
town to find new adventures with a sailing crew of Negroes on Sir 
Edmond’s new yacht. 

In the world of high-class literary pornography, of which Story of the 
Eye is fairly typical, force is imbued with meaning because it is the 
means to death. Death is the stunning essence of sex. The violence 

FORCE 175 

of death is the violence of sex and the beauty of death is the beauty 
of sex and the meaning of life is only revealed in the meaning of sex 
which is death. “The intellectual who loves this kind of pornography 
is impressed with death. High-class symbols are also essential to 
high-class pornography: eggs, eyes, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, the 
difference between a half-full and a half-empty egg as it sinks into a 
toilet, an eye in the cunt. Ruminations on the stars in the sky and 
sudden portentous thunderstorms, abundant in Story of the Eye , also 
help to establish a work of pornography as inordinately meaningful. 
Religious rebellion — for instance, the torture and rape of a priest — 
also heralds a class act. The priest as the man in skirts, feminized 
because he has turned away from masculine sexual action as a way 
of life, is easily viewed as a symbol of the repression caused by 
religion, whereas it would be more realistic — but less comfortable — 
to see him as a substitute woman. His true sexual nature is revealed 
in his erection and he is punished for having denied it — for his 
sexual downward mobility as it were. Marcelle is the more 
conventional victim, anatomically female, passive, shamed by her 
own sexual desire. Her violation and death are in the normal course 
of things, in the nature of sex itself. The violation of a priest passes 
as a rebellious idea. 

Force in high-class pornography is romanticized because it leads 
to death. It is romanticized as if it were dance: ritualized movement 
intrinsic to sex, leading inevitably to death, which is mysterious 
and in its mystery sublime. Bataille has outlined a sequel to Story of 
the Eye: Simone ends up in a death camp; she is beaten to death; 
“[s]he dies as though making love, but in the purity (chaste) and the 
imbecility of death; fever and agony transfigure her.” 4 ’ The outline 
was published in 1967, in the fourth edition of Story of the Eye. This 
makes clear the tally of female deaths: very young girl on bicycle, 
Marcelle, whore in the pigsty, priest as feminized male, and later — 
much later because she is so cruel — Simone. The death camp is 
eroticized in the man of intellect after Auschwitz. Also, Bataille has 
published a personal essay on his own life, in which he describes 
some probable origins of the symbols in Story of the Eye. The sense 
of the author’s personal anguish also gives the work credibility 


among intellectuals: he writes of his own dread and obsession and 
pain* the staples of the male artist as hero. This makes the book by 
definition brave in its revelations. It allows other intellectuals to see 
Bataille and themselves in his characters as it suits them: especially 
not as violators but as sufferers. This* needless to say, is utterly 
sentimental* but the sentimentality is well hidden in endless 
abstractions — ponderings on death and sex with no regard for the 
realities of either. The intellectual claim made for the work is that 
Bataille has revealed a sexual secret: the authentic nexus between 
sex and death. Sometimes this revelation is posited as the value of 
high-class pornography. But in fact* Bataille has obscured more 
than he has uncovered. He has obscured the meaning of force in 
sex. He has obscured the fact that there is no male conception of sex 
without force as the essential dynamic. He has done this by 
romanticizing death. Force is inconsequential when the cosmic 
forces move through man in sex. It is plodding and pedestrian to 
demand that one pay attention to it. What matters is the poetry that 
is the violence leading to death that is the ecstasy. The language 
stylizes the violence and denies its fundamental meaning to women, 
who do in fact end up dead because men believe what Bataille 
believes and makes pretty: that death is the dirty secret of sex. In 
some cases* the death is literal. In some cases, it is the annihilation 
of female will. The grand conceptions — death, angst — cover the 
grand truth: that force leading to death is what men most secretly* 
most deeply, and most truly value in sex. Death is the idea behind 
the action. 

Simone exists in the male sexual framework: the sadistic whore 
whose sexuality is murderous and insatiable; ultimately she is also 
the exquisite victim, fulfilled through annihilation, Bataille’s logical 
though delayed tribute to the femininity suggested by her anatomy 
and by the fact that now and then she gets fucked. She is a 
prototypical figure in the male imagination, the woman who is 
sexual because her sexuality is male in its values, in its violence. She 
is the male idea of a woman let loose. 

When Simone, Sir Edmond* and the narrator go off on a yacht 
with a crew of Negroes, an image that appeared earlier in the text is 

FORCE 177 

underlined and given new significance: Simone’s orgasms after 
Marcelle’s death were 

incomparably more violent than before. These orgasms were as 
different from normal climaxes as, say, the mirth of savage 
Africans from that of Occidentals. In fact, though the savages 
may sometimes laugh as moderately as whites, they also have 
long-lasting jags, with all parts of the body in violent release, 
and they go whirling willy-nilly, flailing their arms about 
wildly, shaking their bellies, necks, and chests, and chortling 
and gulping horribly . 44 

This wild laughter is then again paralleled to Simone’s violent 
orgasms. The escape with the crew of Negroes promises more 
savage sexual experiences. The promise is that more force will lead 
to more death that will be more exciting because the light/dark 
symbolism — suggested in an all-white environment by Simone and 
Marcelle (Simone dark, Marcelle blond, Simone dressed in black 
stockings, Marcelle in white, and so forth) — will provide the 
context for conquest. In an all-white context, Marcelle was the pale, 
frail submissive who denied her harlot nature, which provoked 
Simone to express hers. In an all-white context and also in a white- 
supremacist context, the dark one is the dangerous one. But in the 
white-supremacist context, the white one will win, the dark one 
will be conquered: Simone is white, not black; she is the winner. 
The challenge of savage sexuality in a black crew in service to a 
wealthy English aristocrat provides a new context for conquest. 
Force leading to sex which inevitably means death takes on a new 
dimension, suggests to the colonializing sexual mentality wilder and 
wilder sexual possibilities. Conquest, the subterranean theme of 
both rape and romance, is carried in pornography, at some point of 
satiation, inevitably into the racial realm. The death of one’s own 
racial kind is not quite enough, and so the romanticization of death 
which obscures the meaning of force permits the romanticization of 
racial conquest and racial murder. Force, once perhaps abhorrent to 
the intellectual in the realm of race, now has an entirely sexual 
significance which permits its expansion into race without challeng- 


ing, or even alerting, conscience. The acceptance of force in the 
sexual realm allows its extension into the racial realm because one is 
dealing with metaphysical sexual truths, which race does not 
change and in relation to which justice is both irrelevant and 
ridiculous. A conscience calloused with regard to force in sex is 
inevitably rendered insensible to racist force as well. 

And cruelty is an idea in practice. 

Antonin Artaud, Collected Works 

Woman is made to submit to man and to endure even 
injustice at his hands. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, kmilc 

All the women who copulate to keep peace in the 
house are the victims of rape. All our grandmothers 
who just “let it happen” were essentially force-fucked 
all their lives. 

Suzanne Br0gger, Deliver Us from Love 

The idea of the woman as sexual provocateur or harlot, so 
consistently postulated in pornography as the first principle of sex, 
is not, it will be argued, really commonplace or believed. The idea 
that women do not like or need sex is stronger. Too many 
headaches over too many centuries have damaged the credibility of 
both the pornographers and like-minded philosophers of sex. Yes, 
the idea of the woman as sexual provocateur may rise like the 
mythical phoenix in rape cases. It may magically manifest in incest 
cases, where the female who wants it is a prepubescent child. To 
women, the sudden appearance of this idea when applied to 
themselves is always incredible and inexplicable, especially because 
most women encounter the power of this idea when it is they who 
have been physically abused and then are accused and condemned. 
Before the woman is actually assaulted, the idea has set limits on 
her life: she is always trying to retain the status of innocent, one 
who is not forced because she did not provoke it. But the idea limits 

FORCE 179 

her life, innocence demanding ignorance, in such a way that she 
cannot recognize or be conscious of it. Once attacked, she is 
accused, and the idea determines the immediate course of her life. 
Indeed, in rape or incest cases, as in battery, the so-called victim is 
distinguished from other females by her provocativeness, which 
accounts for her individual victimization, which is not victimization 
because she provoked it. There are always those billions of other 
women who were not raped or beaten at that particular time by that 
particular man. They were passed by, which is the evidence that 
convicts her. Something in her caused the assault — her sexuality, in 
fact — and now she must convince strangers not only that it was 
against her will but also that she did not like it: an indignity beyond 
imagining and in the male system nearly always impossible. She 
cannot comprehend what she is up against when she claims that she 
did not want it. She is up against the whole world of real male belief 
about her real nature, expressed most purely in pornography. 

But still, there is another idea, closer to the surface and in that 
sense more superficial, that women are inhibited or have a low sex 
drive or do not want or need sex. Perhaps this is a recognition, 
however perverse, that no one could possibly like and want what 
men do to women. This idea, also articulated as a universal truth, 
appears to contradict the idea that women are by nature whores 
who beg for it, want it, demand it. But in fact, it is the perfect 
complement. The whore provokes because she wants to be forced 
(sex intrinsically defined as conquest). How does one have sex with 
the real woman who so often expresses reluctance, aversion, 
boredom, refusal, disdain, or a desire to go back to school instead, 
especially if she is one’s wife, the woman over whom one has legal 
conjugal rights? One forces her. The system is foolproof. The 
woman who does want it wants force. She expresses this desire for 
force by resisting which provokes force which is what she wants. 
The woman who does not want it must be forced. Once the woman 
who does not want it has been forced, she is indistinguishable from 
the woman who resisted because she did want it. Male supremacy is 
dizzying in its unrelenting circularity. 

Kinsey is the sexual philosopher who claimed to quantify and 
thus accurately describe actual sexual behavior. He and his 


followers conclude that women have a low sex drive and are defined 
in their personalities, behaviors, and values by sexual inhibitions. 
Kinsey’s sexual ideology, accepted without significant modification 
by those who continued his work, used the idea that women have a 
low sex drive to justify force against the woman who does not want 
it except in the cases where force is justified because she does want 
it but does not have the decency to admit it thereby causing tragic 
problems for the male who forced her because he was not inhibited 
and did what was natural. 

Kinsey counted and classified sexual acts, a technique he 
described as “taxonomic, in the sense in which modern biologists 
employ the term. . . . The transfer from insect to human material is 
not illogical, for it has been a transfer of a method that may be 
applied to the study of any variable population, in any field .” 45 
Kinsey had spent a good part of his life as a scientist collecting and 
classifying gall wasps, called by male scientists “killer wasps.” He 
took the methods he had applied in describing the gall wasp and 
applied them to human sexuality. Kinsey’s first absolute claim was 
that his method was scientific and objective, uncolored by social 
prejudices or moral judgments: “That much is expected of the 
student measuring the lengths of insect wings, recording chemical 
changes that occur in a test tube, or observing the colors of the 
stars. It is not too much to expect similar objectivity of the student 
of human behavior .” 46 Kinsey’s material on sexual acts was col- 
lected through interviews. Challenged on his ability to recognize 
absolute truth in verbal descriptions of sexual acts, the objective 
scientist countered : “As well ask a horse trader how he knows 
when to close a bargain.” 47 * 

* Kinsey’s sources were, in fact, much more unreliable than anyone could 
deduce from reading either of his volumes on human sexuality. In his 
biography. Dr . Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research (New York: Harper & 
Row, Publishers, 1972), p. 122, Wardell B. Pomeroy, a disciple and 
coresearcher with Kinsey, unselfconsciously tells this story: “We had heard 
through Dr. Dickinson of a man who had kept an accurate record of a 
lifetime’s sexual behavior. When we got the record after a long drive to take 
his history, it astounded even us, who had heard everything. This man had 
had homosexual relations with 600 preadolescent males, heterosexual 
relations with 200 preadolescent females, intercourse with countless adults 

FORCE 181 

The two volumes written by Kinsey and his associates (Sexual 
Behavior in the Human Male , Sexual Behavior in the Human Female) and 
the one volume written by his disciples based on his data (Sex 
Offenders : An Analysis of Types ) all classify sexual acts of white 
persons. Kinsey was particularly criticized because the volume on 
the human female dealt with white, mostly urban, and well- 
educated women. Actually it deals mostly with insects, animals, 
and men. According to Arno Karlen, Kinsey 

pointed out that this made less difference than it would in a 
male sample, for he had enough lower-level female subjects to 
show that education and parent’s occupation were minor 
influences for females. The various levels had produced very 
different patterns of aggression and control in males, but girls 
[sic] of all classes got pretty much the same kind and amount of 
training in restraint . 48 

This is strongly reminiscent of Freud’s attitude toward what he 
called “servant girls [sic]”: “Fortunately for our therapy, we have 
previously learned so much from other cases that we can tell these 
persons their story without having to wait for their contribution. 
They are willing to confirm what we tell them, but one can learn 
nothing from them .” 49 Scientists tend to be more rigorous and 
interested in collecting information on insects than on women and 
Kinsey was no exception. His curiosity about sexual acts committed 

of both sexes, with animals of many species, and besides had employed 
elaborate techniques of masturbation. He had set down a family tree going 
back to his grandparents, and of thirty-three family members he had had 
sexual contacts with seventeen. His grandmother introduced him to 
heterosexual intercourse, and his first homosexual experience was with his 
father. If that sounds like Tobacco Road or God's Little Acre , I will add that he 
was a college graduate who held a responsible government job. We had 
traveled from Indiana to the Southwest to get this single extraordinary 
history, and felt that it had been worth every mile. 

“At the time we saw him, this man was sixty-three years old, quiet, soft- 
spoken, self-effacing — a rather unobtrusive fellow. It took us seventeen 
hours to get his history, which was the basis for a fair part of Chapter Five in the 
Male volume , concerning child sexuality. Because of these elaborate records , we were 
able to get data on the behavior of many children , as well as of our subject .” 
[Emphasis mine] 


by the human female never matched his curiosity about the gall 
wasp. His main preoccupation, among humans, was with class 
strata among males. He found distinctly different patterns of sexual 
interaction in what he called “lower-level” and “upper-level” males. 
Kinsey's data confirm that these men had mostly female partners. 
Therefore, the behaviors of the women of the various social strata 
must have differed. This too is confirmed by the data — the data on 
males. Kinsey's own attitudes toward the female could not even 
stand the test of his own data. 

Kinsey characterized sexual response as a physiological phe- 
nomenon in both males and females in this way: “The closest 
parallel to the picture of sexual response is found in the known 
physiology of anger .” 50 He claimed that physiological responses in 
male and female were the same, but that psychological responses 
were entirely different. He also claimed that female attitudes 
toward sex (the psychological) have a biological basis, at which 
point Noah's ark issues forth. He also claimed that while no one 
knows whether female sexuality is determined by genes, passed 
from generation to generation (apparently he meant through 
learning), or by a combination of nature and nurture, one must look 
to the behavior of other mammals to find what human sexual 
behavior should be — though he claimed that his method did not 
allow the intrusion of a should . Kinsey strongly believed that human 
sexual patterns should mimic animal patterns, which were natural, 
but he never recognized that this constituted a point of view. As an 
objective scientist, he could say all of the above: his authority 
forbade notice of his simple self-contradiction and confusion. 

In Sexual Behavior in the Human Male , Kinsey asserts that male 
orgasm would occur, at the least, on a daily basis were it not for 
social restrictions. Under what he calls “optimal conditions ,” 51 it 
would occur more frequently than once a day during adolescence 
and early adult life. The heterosexual environment, courtship rites, 
women's provocative clothing, and the depictions of women in 
films, advertisements, fiction, and so forth, are constantly arousing: 
“For most males, whether single or married, there are ever-present 
erotic stimuli, and sexual response is regular and high .” 52 The 


lower-level male wants and gets sexual intercourse. The upper-level 
male, denied what he really wants (intercourse), must fall back on 
substitutes, which accounts for the attention the upper-level male 
pays (relatively speaking, among males) to what women might call 
lovemaking — kissing, cunnilingus, fondling, and so on: 

The very fact that upper level males fail to get what they want 
in socio-sexual relations [this is deduced by Kinsey because 
they have lower rates of premarital and extramarital inter- 
course] would provide a psychologic explanation of their high 
degree of erotic responsiveness to stimuli which fall short of 
actual coitus. The fact that the lower level male comes nearer 
having as much coitus as he wants would make him less 
susceptible to any stimulus except actual coitus . 53 [Italics mine] 

Kinsey then characterizes the coital behavior of the lower-level male 
as sexual freedom. The criteria Kinsey uses to determine sexual 
freedom are quantity of sexual interactions that are coital and 
degree of promiscuity (number of partners). It is a continuing 
theme in Kinsey that “average frequencies of sexual outlet for the 
human male are distinctly below those which are normal among 
some other anthropoids and which would probably be normal in the 
human animal if there were no restrictions upon his sexual 
activity .” 54 Kinsey's formulation of authentic male sexuality — his 
speculation, distinct from his stated goal of objectively describing, 
counting, and classifying actual sexual acts, but not acknowledged 
as opinion or conjecture — is unequivocal: 

There seems to be no question but that the human male 
would be promiscuous in his choice of sexual partners 
throughout the whole of his life if there were no social 
restrictions. This is the history of unrestrained human males 
everywhere . 55 

Kinsey considers women responsible for the unnatural social 
restrictions on men. He condemns social workers, women on parole 
boards, mothers, schoolteachers, for controlling “moral codes, 
schedules for sex education, campaigns for law enforcement, and 


programs for combating what is called juvenile delinquency. It is 
obviously impossible,” he asserts, “for a majority of these women to 
understand the problem that the boy faces in being constantly 
aroused and regularly involved with his normal biologic reac- 
tions .” 54 

Kinsey especially disdained the attitudes of upper-level females. 
He was most offended by upper-level women in social work who 
did not understand (condone and support) the male coital impera- 
tive. He maintained that the inhibitions of the upper-level female 
were extreme. The proof was that so many of these women had 
objected to intercourse when first married or remained apathetic 
throughout marriage. Some even objected to new techniques tried 
out on them by their husbands and “charge their husbands with 
being lewd, lascivious, lacking in consideration, and guilty of sex 
perversion in general. There are numerous divorces which turn on 
the wife’s refusal to accept some item in coital technique which may 
in actuality be commonplace in human [male] behavior .” 57 To 
Kinsey, this data did not suggest anything about male sexuality as 
such; only that women were perpetually messing men up, standing 
in the way of male sexual release. Kinsey, who did not, in his 
exhaustive, objective research, uncover marital rape or wife battery, 
did find “several instances of wives who have murdered their 
husbands because they insisted on mouth-genital contacts .” 58 “In- 
sisted” might perhaps be considered a euphemism. He also found, 
to his disgust, that divorces had been granted because of “the coital 
frequencies which the husband had demanded .” 59 Even “de- 
manded” might perhaps be considered a euphemism. He saw, in 
the instances of divorces granted because the woman objected to the 
husband’s sexual use of her, collusion between women and the law, 
the two great social forces for sexual restriction of the male. Denial 
of sexual access by women to men is nowhere viewed by Kinsey as 
a right of women. He consistently sees refusal as sexual inhibition, 
moralism, or evidence of a low sex drive in the female. He is 
contemptuous of the Freudian formulation of sexual inhibition, 
though he maintains that the female is sexually inhibited. To 
Kinsey, inhibition means refusal on any level for any reason. He 

FORCE 185 

particularly undertook to shatter Freud’s concept of sublimation by 
pointing out that the sexual histories of male artists did not confirm 
that they were sexually inactive, and sexual sublimation — or 
inhibition or repression — could not be proven by looking to women 
because the concept does not take into account “the high incidence 
of relatively unresponsive females who never had any appreciable 
amount of sexual energy to be diverted.” 40 According to Kinsey, 
psychotherapy is wasted on persons with a low sex drive, and most 
women are sexually apathetic: “But such inactivity is no more 
sublimation [or repression or inhibition; Kinsey used the words 
interchangeably] of sex drive than blindness or deafness or other 
perceptive defects are sublimation of those capacities.”* 1 Despite 
the low sex drive of the female, her resultant moralism, her sexual 
inhibition here used to mean refusal of sexual access, “we do not 
find evidence . . . that the individual, rid of her inhibitions, would 
not be capable of response.”* 2 All she has to do is to say yes. Mute 
submission would also pass as “response” in Kinsey’s system 

[i]t cannot be emphasized too often that orgasm cannot be taken 
as the sole criterion for determining the degree of satisfaction 
which a female may derive from sexual activity. Considerable 
pleasure may be found in sexual arousal which does not 
proceed to the point of orgasm, and in the social aspects of a 
sexual relationship. Whether or not she herself reaches orgasm, 
many a female finds satisfaction in knowing that her husband or 
other sexual partner has enjoyed the contact, and in realizing 
that she has contributed to the male’s pleasure.*’ 

At the same time, predictably, “[i]t is inconceivable that males who 
were not reaching orgasm would continue their marital coitus for 
any length of time.” 64 

The function of the female in the conventional sexual relation- 
ship, as described by Kinsey, in which the woman participates not 
for her sexual benefit but for that of the male and gets a social 
reward for her compliance is stated clearly by Kinsey: under these 
circumstances, it is “impossible to draw a line between the most 


obvious sort of commercialized prostitution and the relationships of 
every husband and wife .” 65 The basic sameness of wife and whore 
(Kinsey’s version of “all women are whores”) is the line Kinsey 
takes in defending prostitution as an institution that must be 
accepted because the male needs unrestricted sexual outlet, which 
the wife does not provide because she has a low sex drive and is 
inhibited and would provide were she not inhibited despite her low 
sex drive. The purpose of wife and whore is the same. The goal is 
male sexual expression — mostly in coitus if the male is not 
frustrated by female noncompliance. The use of the female, 
whatever her status, by the male for his own genital satisfaction is 
the substance and near totality of natural human sexuality as 
described by Kinsey. The so-called low sex drive of the female 
justifies the use of her without reference to her satisfaction and 
without cognizance of her sexual integrity, which simply cannot 
exist in Kinsey’s male-supremacist value system. Any refusal on the 
part of the female to comply with male sexual demands is evidence 
of incapacity or inhibition. The sexually natural female would 
never say no precisely because her sexual nature is apathetic. Strong 
sexual aversion on her part — for instance, aversion to having sex to 
which she is indifferent because there is no meaning or pleasure in it 
for her — is by definition inhibition. Since wife and prostitute have 
the same function, the function is clearly delineated in the analogy: 
to serve the male in sex. Rape, needless to say, does not have an 
authentic existence in Kinsey’s system, except as a repressive social 
construct with which women haunt and punish and restrict the 
male. Anything — law or personal protestation or resistance — that 
keeps the male from using the female as he wishes is female 
moralism or sexual repression or social restriction that ignores or 
violates male sexual nature, which is taking and using at will. 
Kinsey’s philosophy at base is that there is no valid reason for the 
male not to: not to have coital access to the female at will. He has a 
great sense of the tragic when needless (all) social restrictions 
impinge on male sexual nature: “Sexual activities in themselves 
rarely do physical damage, but disagreements over the significance 
of sexual behavior may result in personality conflicts, a loss of social 

FORCE 187 

standing, imprisonment, disgrace, and the loss of life itself .” 66 It is 
the male who is the victim here: who has personality conflicts, loses 
social standing, is imprisoned, disgraced, and sometimes killed for 
raping. The sense of Kinsey’s view is that rape, to the extent that it 
does exitft (mostly illusory), would not exist if females would 
comply, which they would do were they not twisted. It is the 
female who refuses and then accuses, destroying the natural man 
who just wants to function in harmony with his authentic sexuality. 

In Kinsey’s system, charges of rape are almost always false, 
occasioned by female hysteria, not by male assault. Since he cannot 
imagine a female sexual will that contradicts the male and at the 
same time is not warped, he cannot comprehend the meaning, for 
instance, of child molestation to child or woman — only that the 
hysteria of women descends once again to punish the male: 

Many small girls reflect the public hysteria over the prospect of 
“being touched” by a strange person [sic]\ and many a child, 
who has no idea at all of the mechanics of intercourse, 
interprets affection and simple caressing from anyone except 
her own parents, as attempts at rape. In consequence, not a few 
older men serve time in penal institutions for attempting to 
engage in a sexual act which at their age would not interest 
most of them, and of which many of them are undoubtedly 
incapable . 67 

Kinsey had no interest in exploring or documenting child abuse 
because no sexual act desired by the male if properly gratified could 
be abusive. He could not begin to comprehend the varieties of 
sexual abuse directed against female children because he had no 
notion of meaningful consent for any female of any age. The male 
was always the victim of female refusal or antagonism. The refusal 
or antagonism was never justified. 

In addition, Kinsey saw rape as a female stratagem to hide female 
participation in sex: 

In both the baboon and the rhesus monkey, females soliciting 
new sexual partners have been known to utilize a remarkably 
human procedure to escape the anger of their established mates. 


When the mates discover them in coitus with other males, or 
seem about to discover them, the females may cease their sexual 
activities and attack the new male partners. A high proportion 
of the human “rape” cases which we have had the opportunity 
to examine involve something of the same motifs . 68 

When not screaming rape to propitiate the angry baboon, the 
female may scream rape by way of explanation to her parents. In 
Sex Offenders , Kinsey’s disciples remember his deep insight into this 
origin of rape: 

As Dr. Kinsey often said, the difference between a “good time” 
and a “rape” may hinge on whether the girl’s [sic] parents were 
awake when she finally arrived home . 69 

In the main, Kinsey held that it was the social valuation of coitus 
that turned it into rape — especially the woman’s attitude toward an 
act that was the same whether called coitus or rape; meaning not 
that coitus as practiced is a form of rape, but that rape is a 
misrepresentation of coitus. Harm to the female had no significance 
for Kinsey: 

The disturbances which may sometimes follow coitus rarely 
depend on the nature of the activity itself, or upon its physical 
outcome. An occasional unwanted pregnancy, a rare instance of 
venereal disease, or a very rare instance of physical damage are 
about the only undesirable physical after-effects . 70 

Harm, like rape, is mostly a figment of the female imagination. 
Who would compare the inconvenience of unwanted pregnancy 
(especially at the time of contraband birth control and illegal 
abortion, when Kinsey wrote) or venereal disease (commonly 
undiagnosed in the female and thus disabling, when Kinsey wrote) 
or the maimed and battered bodies of raped or abused women 
(undiscovered by Kinsey, despite his objective methods and thou- 
sands of interviews) to the tragic situation of the male who is 
disturbed or imprisoned or even killed merely for using his natural 
sexual capacity? Harm to the female can have an authentic meaning 

FORCE 189 

only when the bodily integrity of the female is a premise in the 
sexual value system. Otherwise, she exists to be used and harm to 
her in the process of using her is always incidental, usually her own 
fault, and no cause for mourning or rage or even reevaluation. Once 
a woman is dead, it is easier to grant that harm was done to her, 
even that she really was forced; but short of death, harm, like force, 
is hard to prove and is almost never considered significant. 

In Sex Offenders , which purports to count and classify the acts of 
convicted sex offenders, these values are carried forth. The sex 
offender is distinguished from the normal man who commits a 
forcible sexual act — like kissing — because he has been convicted: 
“Once there is a conviction the matter cannot be trivial even though 
the act may have been.” 71 5b: Offenders is the great and terrible story 
of men who suffer imprisonment because they violated meaningless 
taboos — like all other normal men, except that they were caught. Its 
great themes are the falsity and hysteria of women and the cruelty 
of the law. The story is told almost entirely from the point of view 
of the sex offender himself, except that his voice is given authority 
by the objective scientists who present his case, his plight, his 
dilemma. Because the use of force in rape cases where the man has 
actually been convicted is by definition pronounced, there is, 
unavoidably, some recognition of force as a reality in the category 
called “heterosexual aggressor vs. adults,” which roughly translates 
into adult men raping adult women: 

The heterosexual aggressors vs. adults are well aware of 
public skepticism concerning rape, and make use of it in 
offering their own versions of their offenses. Perhaps more than 
any other group they give seemingly plausible accounts of their 
actions to prove their innocence, and while we are interviewing 
them it is often quite easy to be persuaded of the validity of 
their stories. Later, upon examining official records, we may 
discover that the allegedly willing female had to have five 
stitches taken in her lip. 72 

This liberality — the credence given to the five stitches — is the 
exception rather than the rule. In most instances, according to the 


scientists, that lip was just looking for trouble. Using sophistry and 
cunning, the scientists dismiss force as a reality in virtually every 
kind of crime. 

The first method of dismissal is implicit in the methodology 
itself. The normal male, according to Sex Offenders , commits sexual 
acts against the will of the female as a matter of course. To be 
distinguished as an offender, he must be convicted. It is the 
conviction, not the offense, that makes his act significant. Someone 
convicted of burglary who intended to rape is included in the study; 
someone who actually raped but was not convicted is excluded. In 
itself, this is unfortunate, “but this is the price we must pay, 
fortunately very infrequently, in obtaining a workable definition of 
sex offense .” n The premise is that the unconvicted rapist is an 
oddity. Importance is given not to the incidence of actual rape but 
to “obtaining a workable definition of sex offense.” 

The sophistry involved in describing or determining the use of 
force in a sexual act committed by a male convicted of a sex offense 
is clearest in the attempts to categorize acts against children and 
minors. “Children” are here defined as female children under the 
age of twelve, not the daughters of the men convicted. “Minors” are 
females from twelve to fifteen, not the daughters of the men 
convicted. The “heterosexual offender” did not use force; the 
“heterosexual aggressor” did. 

In describing sex acts committed against children, the scientists 
were at pains to establish two categories, one in which force was 
used and one in which it was not: 

Force ranges from unmitigated violence to, let us say, holding a 
child by the wrist; threat runs the gamut from specific verbal 
threat or brandishing a weapon to a subtle implication. In any 
relationship between a child and an adult there is always in the 
background an element of duress; the inevitable disparity in 
strength and social status is an omnipresent factor. A man, even 
though a stranger, is in an authoritarian superior position. 
While it was manifestly impossible to cope with these vaguer 
(but nonetheless effective) forms of force and threat, we were 
able to exclude from heterosexual offenders vs. children anyone 

FORCE 191 

who told us of using force or threat or whose official record 
mentioned its use . 74 

Given the excellence of this description of male force, both brutal 
and subtle (though it omits the direct power of male over female), it 
is remarkable that the scientists did indeed isolate a category of male 
offenders against female children under the age of twelve in which 
the use of force was not involved. The information on which they 
based the existence of this extraordinary category was supplied by 
the offenders themselves or by official records. In these cases, 
children were not represented by their own counsel, and standards 
for taking and recording testimony from children varied greatly. In 
sexual offenses against children, quoted above, the first issue is not 
the kind or degree of force used, but the fact that force is implicit 
for the reasons articulated in the description of force with respect to 
children. In any event, the scientists did not feel obligated to 
determine from information supplied by the victims whether or not 
force in any of the senses that it properly pertains had been used. 
The invisibility of the victim is built into the data by virtue of its 
sources. No consideration is given to delineating circumstances that 
would guarantee that force had not been used. The commitment of 
the scientists here, their sexual imperative as it were, is to create a 
category in which females under twelve years of age satisfy the male 
without the use of force on his part. The issue is not whether the 
satisfaction is coital; it is whether it is sexual in any sense, thus 
establishing a viable sexual possibility for the adult male in regard 
to the female child. The category itself — which defies both common 
sense and the clear description of what constitutes force from male 
adult to female child — provides a basis for belief that the use of a 
female child under twelve by an adult male can, under circum- 
stances known only to the authors of Sex Offenders , exclude force as a 

The philosophy that permits the invisibility of the victim and 
insists on the accuracy of the category and data arrived at by the 
objective scientist is more fully explicated in the information on 
heterosexual offenders versus minors. The category as defined 


means that force was not used in committing the sexual act. The use 
of force or its absence is held to be easy to determine because the 
girl aged twelve to fifteen is seen to have the sexual characteristics 
and awareness of a well-informed adult woman. These girls “are 
sufficiently developed physically and sufficiently aware of social 
attitudes for a man to have to use considerable force or definite 
threat if the girl objects to sexual contact .” 75 The girl is considered 
knowledgeable of any male’s sexual intent. She also “knows that in 
rejecting a sexual advance society is on her side .” 76 Unless 
formidable force was used against her, she is seen to have 
consented. Basically, if the girl is short of bruised and maimed, 
force was not used. All of the data on harm done to her, remember, 
are either filtered through the criminal justice system or come from 
the offender. To the scientists, this does not indicate prejudice to 
her because society is on her side; the oi Ay prejudice is to the male. 
Proof of the girl’s essential complicity and compliance is inferred 
from the source of the report to the police: “Who reported the 
sexual behavior to the authorities? The girl herself rarely did so 
directly. Usually the situation was discovered by friends or relatives 
who thereupon reported it. The suspicious mother and the gar- 
rulous girl friend are common sources of the offender’s downfall .” 77 
The tragic figure is the male. He has a “downfall.” The females 
responsible for the “downfall” are interfering, prudish mothers or 
yacking girlfriends — eternal troublemakers who babble irresponsi- 
bly to the police. There is no indication that the objective scientists 
considered the girl, upset and confused, unable to explain an assault 
on her, asking for help, or cracking under the stress. Because she is 
viewed by the objective scientists as an adult woman, even though 
socially she is a child and even though all females are charac- 
teristically kept ignorant of sex and male genital goals, she has not 
been misused because misuse is implicitly impossible when a 
sexually viable female is used by a male exercising natural sexuality. 
The presumption is that the girl aged twelve to fifteen fully and 
knowledgeably consented to the sexual act after which her mother 
or another troublesome female intruded, causing the “downfall” of a 
blameless male. 

FORCE 193 

Confronting the high incidence of pair and multiple sexual 
attacks on girls aged twelve to fifteen, the scientists still have a 
category called “heterosexual offenders,” meaning that no force was 
involved meaning that the male was convicted for having sex with a 
consenting female— or even for just being nearby: 

At first one wonders why females aged twelve to fifteen should 
be particularly subject to such polyandrous attention, but a 
simple explanation exists: when society learns that a young girl 
has had some sort of sexual relationship with an adult male, not 
only that male, but any other adult male who was within a 
radius of one hundred feet is apt to be convicted. If there were 
copartners in the offense, there was usually one, less often two, 
and only rarely more. The traditional “line-up” or “gang-bang” 
is essentially absent in the offenders vs. minors, but there does 
seem to have been a considerable amount of double-dating and 
of pairs of males hunting for girls. 7 * 

Convicted offenders against girls aged twelve to fifteen are judged 
by the objective scientists to be, on the whole, a very healthy group 
with excellent parental relationships: but then, they were not 
accused of molesting their parents. Scientists, of course, are experts 
on health, and the behavior, for instance, of adult males hunting for 
girls aged twelve to fifteen is no less healthy than adult males 
similarly hunting for adult women. If sex is the hunt and sex is 
health, then the hunt is health. The problem is not that males abuse 
a female, but that society — according to Kinsey controlled by the 
sexually apathetic or inhibited female — collects the males in a 
hundred-foot radius when a female aged twelve to fifteen is sexually 
used. Two or more adult males hunting a girl aged twelve to fifteen 
does not, for the scientists, constitute the use of force. What, then, 
does constitute the use of force against a girl aged twelve to fifteen? 
The scientists have a category, “heterosexual aggressors vs. mi- 
nors,” in which the use of force is recognized as such even by the 
rather dense authors of Sex Offenders. The plight of the poor male is 
still the dramatic issue: 

The male who realizes too late that what he interpreted as 


encouragement was nothing of the sort is in real danger if he 
attempts, by physical force, to detain a frightened girl in order 
to calm her and make his apologies. Assault with intent to rape 
is a charge that requires very little in the way of physical 
contact, and judges and juries are apt to be cynical toward the 
man who disclaims any intention to rape. Men, knowing 
themselves, are prone to assume the worst about another man 
charged with a sex offense . 79 

The authority of the scientist, which is the authority of the male, 
permits this astonishing somersault. Suddenly, the male, recogniz- 
ing his own desire to rape, will attribute an intention to rape to 
other males, virtually without evidence. The male, convicted for 
using force (an astonishment in and of itself), might well have been 
attempting to comfort a hysterical female whom he innocently 
misunderstood — probable because the provocative behavior of the 
female is so misleading. The projection of the male judge or juror (a 
necessary construct, since it is hard to blame the female directly 
when she is not allowed on juries nor is she on the bench; women 
were systematically excluded from serving on juries until recently, 
women are still systematically excluded from the judiciary) is used 
to posit the essential blamelessness of the man whose use of force 
was in fact so gross that not only was he convicted of a sex offense 
but even the authors of Sex Offenders had to create a category for him 
in which the use of force established the parameters of the category. 

Needless to say, if one has managed to obscure the meaning of 
force when used by adult men against females under the age of 
twelve and females aged twelve to fifteen, it is unlikely that the use 
of force in sex against adult women will be a compelling issue. 

In the category called “heterosexual offenders vs. adults,” the use 
of force is excluded by definition. This is a remarkable category 
because the scientists basically conclude that the men in this 
category were convicted for having consensual coitus with females 
who were adult — by their definition, over the age of fifteen. This 
conclusion is in part held to be self-evident because three-quarters 
of the females attacked were friends of the offenders and the sexual 
act at issue occurred in a residence. 

FORCE 195 

According to the scientists, in the category “heterosexual offend- 
ers vs. adults,” only 16 out of 183 females resisted the commission 
of the sex act, but even in these cases “her resistance and his 
persistence did not exceed the bounds of the customary male vs. 
female contest. There was no threat and no violence. Included are a 
few cases where female consent was completely absent, but force or 
duress were absent also.” 80 The situations in which consent was 
absent but force or duress were not used are cases in which the men 
use “surprise or stealth.” 81 The example given is the instance of a 
man who when he was drunk surprised a girl (sic) by hugging her. 
The authors point out that the girl (sic) thought she was being 
grabbed. “Hugging” is the neutral term used by the authors in 
describing the act; “grabbing,” as the female point of view, is put in 
quotes. Or, in another example, a man “could not resist touching 
females* legs even in inappropriate situations.” 82 The essential 
information in these two examples, from the authors* perspective, is 
that “there was nothing especially antisocial in the behavior per se, 
but the circumstances of the situation (particularly the fact that the 
men were not known to the females) constituted grounds for 
punitive action.” 8 ’ The presumption is that access to the female 
body is a male right, and that even in the absence of consent the 
presumption of a right to access is not antisocial. Surprise and 
stealth do not constitute force. There are also cases where, 
according to the scientists, consent was given, then withdrawn. 
One case cited as an example of consent given, then withdrawn, is 
that of a twenty-year-old man who had on other occasions had 
coitus with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend (sic). One night he was 
drunk, she resisted him, he hit her, she called the police, and he was 
arrested and convicted of rape. Fortunately, the court “recognized 
some of the essentials of the situation” 84 and sentenced the man to 
ninety days and payment of court costs. Apparently, to the 
objective scientists, consent once given is eternally given. Battery is 
not an issue of force. Previous coitus negates the validity of any 
charge of rape, since consent is inferred from previous sexual 

In 91 percent of the cases in the category “heterosexual offenders 


vs. adults,” the sexual act was premeditated by the male. Pre- 
meditation also does not indicate force because, of course, in the 
normal male “interest, hope, and premeditation are inextricably 
fused when he is confronted with a socially suitable female . . .” 85 
Two or more males aligned against a single female also is not 
necessarily forcible sex: these are “polyandrous situations .” 86 
In creating the category “heterosexual offenders vs adults,” 
meaning a category in which men were convicted for having 
consensual relations, usually coital, with adult females, the criterion 
was that the use of force not be substantial , that is, outside the 
bounds of what is socially acceptable: 

Our society expects the male to be the aggressor in heterosexual 
relationships, and a certain amount of physical force and duress 
is consequently acceptable and perhaps even socially necessary. 
Girls [sic] are frequently subjected to rather intense and 
effective duress which takes many forms: threats not to date 
them again, threats to impair their popularity through adverse 
comments, even threats to make them walk home — all these are 
not only common but are accepted as a part of social living. 
The same is true with physical force, but here a delicacy of 
judgment is necessary . 87 

The delicacy of judgment shown by the scientists is truly over- 
whelming in its delicacy: “Concerning force, we would retain the 
case [in the offender’s category in which, by definition, no force was 
used] where a male touched, or briefly held, or pulled an unwilling 
female, but we would exclude cases where she was struck or 
physically overpowered .” 88 The acknowledged unwillingness of the 
female is not relevant because it is commonplace for a female to be 
unwilling and at the same time touched held, or pulled despite or 
because of her unwillingness. 

In the hope that at least when the female is struck or physically 
overpowered, the use of force is clearly delineated and left 
unjustified by the objective scientists, one might turn to the 
category called “heterosexual aggressors vs. adults,” meaning that 
by definition in this category force was used. There all hope is 
shattered by a return to first principles. In the category “heterosex- 

FORCE 197 

ual aggressors vs. adults," where force was undoubtedly and 
absolutely used, one finds that 

[t]he phenomenon of force or threat in sexual relations 
between adults is beclouded by various things. In the first 
place, there may be the ambivalence of the female who is 
sexually aroused but who for moral or other reasons does not 
wish to have coitus. She is struggling not only against the male 
but against herself, and in retrospect it is exceedingly easy for 
her to convince herself that she yielded to forje rather than to 
persuasion. This delusion is facilitated by the socially approved 
pattern for feminine behavior, according to which the woman is 
supposed to put up at least token resistance, murmuring, “No, 
no” or “We mustn’t!” Any reasonably experienced male has 
learned to disregard such minor protestations, and the naive 
male who obeys his partner’s injunction to cease and desist is 
often puzzled when she seems inexplicably irritated by his 

Not only did she probably want it all along — being unwilling only 
for moral reasons, which do not count, or because she is inhibited, 
which does not count — but an accusation against the male — where 
force was clearly used — indicates her struggle with herself. The 
presumption is that the woman will refuse and that the man will, as 
a matter of course, use force, and that her resistance and her 
unwillingness are meaningless except insofar as they indicate 
moralistic values without which she would not object or a hidden, 
internal struggle because she really wants to do what she resists 

Also, the use of force against the adult female, even where the use 
of force is acknowledged by definition of the category, is “be- 
clouded” by the inherent, never-dormant masochism of women: 

. . . there is a certain masochistic streak in many women: they 
occasionally desire to be overpowered and treated a little 
roughly. It is, after all, very ego-satisfying for a female to feel 
she is so sexually attractive that the male cannot maintain social 
restraints and reverts to “caveman" tactics. Indeed, some 
women complain that their partners are too gentle: “Why do 
you always ask me, why don’t you just take me sometimes?’” 0 


In a study specifically of force used against adult females by males, 
the objective scientists introduce the female put off by gentleness, 
the female who wants to be “treated a little roughly,” the female 
who cannot be satisfied without the use of force. Since “[a] standard 
gambit in feminine flirtation is to irritate the male and provoke him 
into physical contact . . . ,” 9 ‘ it is hard to blame the male even for 
using gross force against the female — hurting her, hitting her, 
physically overpowering her: nonobjective persons not scientists 
sometimes call it “rape.” So the scientists do not blame him or even 
hold him responsible for his own behavior. The masochistic female 
with her low sex drive or inhibitions or morals who pretends to 
resist or is actually but unjustifiably unwilling is in fact the one 
responsible for the harm done to her, which is not really harm, 
since she is used in an appropriate way because she is female. 

The destiny of the woman who does not want it — moralistic or 
inhibited or with a low sex drive — is the familiar female destiny 
because underneath is the masochist who does want it, with force. 
The destiny of the woman who does not want it — a superficial 
characterization of her, since underneath she does want it or would 
if she were not moralistic or inhibited — is precisely the same as the 
destiny of the harlot who provokes in order to be forced. The 
female is never entitled not to want sex. Force used against her 
when she refuses is always warranted because she is never either 
justified or serious in not wanting sex. No authentic idea of bodily 
integrity is ever hers to claim or to have. Force does not violate her 
or victimize her because force is nature’s way of giving her what she 
really wants. Force is nature’s victory over the constraints of 
civilization. Force is intrinsic to male sexuality and force used 
against her does not victimize her; it actualizes her. The objective 
scientists and the pomographers agree: she wants it hard, she wants 
it rough, she provokes it because she likes it; and even the sexual 
apathy posited by Kinsey simply establishes another reason to 
disregard her will because an assertion of will on her part — by 
definition, refusal — is a misrepresentation of her own sexual nature, 
which is fulfilled when she is sexually used by the male to satisfy 
him, especially in coitus. 



Consider also our spirits that break a little each time 
we see ourselves in chains or full labial display for the 
conquering male viewer, bruised or on our knees, 
screaming a real or pretended pain to delight the 
sadist, pretending to enjoy what we don’t enjoy, to 
be blind to the images of our sisters that really haunt 
us — humiliated often enough ourselves by the truly 
obscene idea that sex and the domination of women 
must be combined. 

Gloria Steinem, “Exotica and Pornography” 

Somehow every indignity the female suffers ul- 
timately comes to be symbolized in a sexuality that is 
held to be her responsibility, her shame. Even the 
self-denigration required of the prostitute is an emo- 
tion urged upon all women, but rarely with as much 
success: not as frankly, not as openly, not as effi- 
ciently. It can be summarized in one four-letter 
word. And the word is not fuck t it’s cunt. Our self- 
contempt originates in this: in knowing we are cunt. 
This is what we are supposed to be about — our 
essence, our offense. 

Kate Millett, The Prostitution Papers 

I can never have my fill of killing whores. 

Euripides’ Orestes, in Orestes 

The word pornography , derived from the ancient Greek pome and 
grapbos , means “writing about whores.” Pome means “whore,” 
specifically and exclusively the lowest class of whore, which in 
ancient Greece was the brothel slut available to all male citizens. 



The pome was the cheapest (in the literal sense), least regarded, least 
protected of all women, including slaves. She was, simply and 
clearly and absolutely, a sexual slave. Grapbos means “writing, 
etching, or drawing.” 

The word pornography does not mean “writing about sex” or 
“depictions of the erotic” or “depictions of sexual acts” or “depic- 
tions of nude bodies” or “sexual representations” or any other such 
euphemism. It means the graphic depiction of women as vile 
whores. In ancient Greece, not all prostitutes were considered vile: 
only the pomeia. 

Contemporary pornography strictly and literally conforms to the 
word’s root meaning: the graphic depiction of vile whores, or, in 
our language, sluts, cows (as in: sexual cattle, sexual chattel), cunts. 
The word has not changed its meaning and the genre is not 
misnamed. The only change in the meaning of the word is with 
respect to its second part, grapbos: now there are cameras — there is 
still photography, film, video. The methods of graphic depiction 
have increased in number and in kind: the content is the same; the 
meaning is the same; the purpose is the same; the status of the 
women depicted is the same; the sexuality of the women depicted is 
the same; the value of the women depicted is the same. With the 
technologically advanced methods of graphic depiction, real women 
are required for the depiction as such to exist. 

The word pornography does not have any other meaning than the 
one cited here, the graphic depiction of the lowest whores. Whores 
exist to serve men sexually. Whores exist only within a framework 
of male sexual domination. Indeed, outside that framework the 
notion of whores would be absurd and the usage of women as 
whores would be impossible. The word whore is incomprehensible 
unless one is immersed in the lexicon of male domination. Men have 
created the group, the type, the concept, the epithet, the insult, the 
industry, the trade, the commodity, the reality of woman as whore. 
Woman as whore exists within the objective and real system of male 
sexual domination. The pornography itself is objective and real and 
central to the male sexual system. The valuation of women’s 
sexuality in pornography is objective and real because women are so 


regarded and so valued. The force depicted in pornography is 
objective and real because force is so used against women. The 
debasing of women depicted in pornography and intrinsic to it is 
objective and real in that women are so debased. The uses of 
women depicted in pornography are objective and real because 
women are so used. The women used in pornography are used in 
pornography. The definition of women articulated systematically 
and consistently in pornography is objective and real in that real 
women exist within and must live with constant reference to the 
boundaries of this definition. The fact that pornography is widely 
believed to be “sexual representations” or “depictions of sex” 
emphasizes only that the valuation of women as low whores is 
widespread and that the sexuality of women is perceived as low and 
whorish in and of itself. The fact that pornography is widely 
believed to be “depictions of the erotic” means only that the 
debasing of women is held to be the real pleasure of sex. As Kate 
Millett wrote, women's sexuality is reduced to the one essential: 
“cunt . . . our essence, our offense .” 1 The idea that pornography is 
“dirty" originates in the conviction that the sexuality of women is 
dirty and is actually portrayed in pornography; that women’s 
bodies (especially women’s genitals) are dirty and lewd in them- 
selves. Pornography does not, as some claim, refute the idea that 
female sexuality is dirty: instead, pornography embodies and 
exploits this idea; pornography sells and promotes it. 

In the United States, the pornography industry is larger than the 
record and film industries combined. In a time of widespread 
economic impoverishment, it is growing: more and more male 
consumers are eager to spend more and more money on pornogra- 
phy — on depictions of women as vile whores. Pornography is now 
carried by cable television; it is now being marketed for home use in 
video machines. The technology itself demands the creation of 
more and more pomeia to meet the market opened up by the 
technology. Real women are tied up, stretched, hanged, fucked, 
gang-banged, whipped, beaten, and begging for more. In the 
photographs and films, real women are used as pomeia and real 
women are depicted as pomeia. To profit, the pimps must supply 


the pomeia as the technology widens the market for the visual 
consumption of women being brutalized and loving it. One picture 
is worth a thousand words. The number of pictures required to 
meet the demands of the marketplace determines the number of 
pomeia required to meet the demands of graphic depiction. The 
numbers grow as the technology and its accessibility grow. The 
technology by its very nature encourages more and more passive 
acquiescence to the graphic depictions. Passivity makes the already 
credulous consumer more credulous. He comes to the pornography 
a believer; he goes away from it a missionary. The technology itself 
legitimizes the uses of women conveyed by it. 

In the male system, women are sex; sex is the whore. The whore 
is pome, the lowest whore, the whore who belongs to all male 
citizens: the slut, the cunt. Buying her is buying pornography. 
Having her is having pornography. Seeing her is seeing pornogra- 
phy. Seeing her sex, especially her genitals, is seeing pornography. 
Seeing her in sex is seeing the whore in sex. Using her is using 
pornography. Wanting her means wanting pornography. Being her 
means being pornography. 



The best houses do not exhibit the women in cages. 

The Sightless City or the History 
of the Yoshiwara Yukwaku, 1899 report 
on a red-light district in Japan 

Male sexual domination is a material system with an ideology and a 
metaphysics. The sexual colonialization of women’s bodies is a 
material reality: men control the sexual and reproductive uses of 
women’s bodies. The institutions of control include law, marriage, 
prostitution, pornography, health care, the economy, organized 
religion, and systematized physical aggression against women (for 
instance, in rape and battery). Male domination of the female body 
is the basic material reality of women’s lives; and all struggle for 
dignity and self-determination is rooted in the struggle for actual 
control of one’s own body, especially control over physical access to 
one’s own body. The ideology of male sexual domination posits that 
men are superior to women by virtue of their penises; that physical 
possession of the female is a natural right of the male; that sex is, in 
fact, conquest and possession of the female, especially but not 
exclusively phallic conquest and phallic possession; that the use of 
the female body for sexual or reproductive purposes is a natural 
right of men; that the sexual will of men properly and naturally 
defines the parameters of a woman’s sexual being, which is her 
whole identity. The metaphysics of male sexual domination is that 
women are whores. This basic truth transcends all lesser truths in 
the male system. One does not violate something by using it for 
what it is: neither rape nor prostitution is an abuse of the female 
because in both the female is fulfilling her natural function; that is 



why rape is absurd and incomprehensible as an abusive phe- 
nomenon in the male system, and so is prostitution, which is held to 
be voluntary even when the prostitute is hit, threatened, drugged, 
or locked in. The woman’s effort to stay innocent, her effort to 
prove innocence, her effort to prove in any instance of sexual use 
that she was used against her will, is always and unequivocably an 
effort to prove that she is not a whore. The presumption that she is 
a whore is a metaphysical presumption: a presumption that 
underlies the system of reality in which she lives. A whore cannot 
be raped, only used. A whore by nature cannot be forced to 
w hore — only revealed through circumstance to be the whore she is. 
The point is her nature, which is a whore’s nature. The word whore 
can be construed to mean that she is a cunt with enough gross 
intelligence to manipulate, barter, or sell. The cunt wants it; the 
whore knows enough to use it. Cunt is the most reductive word; 
whore adds the dimension of character — greedy, manipulative, not 
nice. The word whore reveals her sensual nature (cunt) and her 
natural character. 

“No prostitute of anything resembling intelligence,” writes 
Mencken, “is under the slightest duress . . “What is a pros- 
titute?” asks William Acton in his classic work on prostitution. “She 
is a woman who gives for money that which she ought to give only 
for love . . .” 2 Jane Addams, w.*o worked against the so-called 
white slave trade, noted that “[t]he one impression which the trial 
[of procurers] left upon our minds was that all the men concerned in 
the prosecution felt a keen sense of outrage against the method 
employed to secure the girl [kidnapping], but took for granted that 
the life she was about to lead was in the established order of things, 
if she had chosen it voluntarily .” 1 Only the maternal can mitigate 
the whorish, an opposition more conceptual than real, based on the 
assumption that the maternal or older woman is no longer desired. 
Freud w rites Jung that a son approaching adulthood naturally loses 
his incestuous desires for the mother “with her sagging belly and 
varicose veins.” 4 Ren6 Guy on, who argued for male-defined sexual 
liberation, writes that “[w]oman ages much sooner. Much earlier in 
life she loses her freshness, her charm, and begins to look withered 


or over-ripe. She ceases to be an object of desire .” 5 The mother is 
not the whore only when men have stopped desiring her. 

Guyon, in whose name societies for sexual freedom exist today, 
held that women were defined exclusively by their sexuality, which 
was essentially and intrinsically the sexuality of the prostitute. 
“Women’s sexual parasitism,” writes Guyon, “is innate. She has a 
congenital tendency to rely on man for support, availing herself of 
her sexual arts, offering in return for maintenance (and more, if she 
can get it) the partial or complete possession of her person .” 4 This 
propensity for exchanging her body for material goods is her 
sexuality, her purpose, her passion, and consequently “[s]ale or 
contract, monogamy or harem — these words mean little to her in 
comparison with the goal .” 7 For this reason, Guyon contends that 
even the so-called white slave trade — the organized abduction of 
lone or young or destitute women for the purposes of prostitution — 
cannot be construed as forcible prostitution: 

How hypocritical it is to speak of the White [sic] Slave Trade 
only as a means for recruiting the ranks of prostitution. The 
White [sic] Slave Trade is universal, being carried on with the 
consent of the “slaves,” since every woman has a specific sexual 
value. She must sell herself to the highest bidder, even though 
she cheat as to the quality of the goods . 8 

Like most male advocates of sexual freedom (the unrestrained 
expression of male sexuality), Guyon theoretically and repeatedly 
deplores the use of force; he simply never recognizes its existence in 
the sexual use of women. 

Typically, every charge by women that force is used to violate 
women — in rape, battery, or prostitution — is dismissed by positing 
a female nature that is essentially fulfilled by the act of violation, 
which in turn transforms violation into merely using a thing for 
what it is and blames the thing if it is not womanly enough to enjoy 
what is done to it. 

Sometimes “consent” is construed to exist. More often, the 
woman is perceived to have an active desire to be used by the male 
on his terms. Great Britain’s Wolfenden Report, renowned for its 


recommendation that legal persecution of consenting male homo- 
sexuals cease, was also a report on female prostitution. The 
Wolfenden Report stressed that “there are women who, even when 
there is no economic need to do so, choose this form of livelihood .” 9 
The Wolfenden Report recommended increasing legal penalties 
against prostitutes and argued for more stringent enforcement of 
laws aimed at prostitutes. Male sexual privilege was affirmed both 
in the vindication of consensual male homosexuality and in the 
advocacy of greater persecution of female prostitutes. At the same 
time, women’s degraded status was affirmed. The whore has a 
nature that chooses prostitution. She should be punished for her 
nature, which determines her choice and which exists independent 
of any social or economic necessity. The male homosexual also has a 
nature, for which he should not be punished. 

This desire of the woman to prostitute herself is often portrayed 
as greed for money or pleasure or both. The natural woman is a 
whore, but the professional prostitute is a greedy whore: greedy for 
sensation, pleasure, money, men. Novelist Alberto Moravia, like 
many leftist writers seemingly obsessed with the prostituted 
woman, writes in an assumed first-person-female voice to convey 
the woman’s pleasure in prostitution: 

The feeling I experienced at that moment bewildered me and, 
no matter how or when I have received money from men since, 
I have never again experienced it so clearly and so intensely. It 
was a feeling of complicity and sensual conspiracy ... It was a 
feeling of inevitable subjection which showed me in a flash an 
aspect of my own nature I had ignored until then. I knew, of 
course, that I ought to refuse the money, but at the same time I 
wanted to accept. And not so much from greed, as from a new 
kind of pleasure which this offering had afforded me . 10 

The pleasure of the prostitute is the pleasure of any woman used 
in sex — but heightened. The specific — the professional whore — 
exists in the context of the general — women who are whores by 
nature. There is additional pleasure in being bought because money 
fixes her status as one who is for sex, not just woman but essence of 


woman or double-woman. The professional prostitute is dis- 
tinguished from other women not in kind but by degree. “There are 
certainly no women absolutely devoid of the prostitute instinct to 
covet being sexually excited by any stranger,”" writes Weininger, 
emphasizing both pleasure and vanity. “If a woman hasn’t got a tiny 
streak of a harlot in her,” writes D. H. Lawrence, “she’s a dry stick 
as a rule .” 12 The tininess of Lawrence’s “streak” should not be 
misunderstood: “really, most wives sold themselves, in the past, 
and plenty of harlots gave themselves, when they felt like it, for 
nothing.”" The “tiny streak” is her sexual nature: without a streak 
of whore, “she’s a dry stick as a rule.” 

There is a right-wing ideology and a left-wing ideology. The 
right-wing ideology claims that the division of mother and whore is 
phenomenologically real. The virgin is the potential mother. The 
left-wing ideology claims that sexual freedom is in the unrestrained 
use of women, the use of women as a collective natural resource, 
not privatized, not owned by one man but instead used by many. 
The metaphysics is the same on the Left and on the Right: the 
sexuality of the woman actualized is the sexuality of the whore; 
desire on her part is the slut’s lust; once sexually available, it does 
not matter how she is used, why, by whom, by how many, or how 
often. Her sexual will can exist only as a will to be used. Whatever 
happens to her, it is all the same. If she loathes it, it is not wrong, 
she is. 

Within this system, the only choice for the woman has been to 
embrace herself as whore, as sexual wanton or sexual commodity 
within phallic boundaries, or to disavow desire, disavow her body. 
The most cynical use of women has been on the Left — cynical 
because the word freedom is used to capture the loyalties of women 
who want, more than anything, to be free and who are then valued 
and used as left-wing whores: collectivized cunts. The most cynical 
use of women has been on the Right — cynical because the word 
good is used to capture the loyalties of women who want, more than 
anything, to be good and who are then valued and used as right- 
wing whores: wives, the whores who breed. As Kate Millett writes: 
“. . . the great mass of women throughout history have been 


confined to the cultural level of animal life in providing the male 
with sexual outlet and exercising the animal functions of reproduc- 
tion and care of the young .” 14 

Men of the Right and men of the Left have an undying allegiance 
to prostitution as such, regardless of their theoretical relationship to 
marriage. The Left sees the prostitute as the free, public woman of 
sex, exciting because she flaunts it, because of her brazen avail- 
ability. The Right sees in the prostitute the power of the bad 
woman of sex, the male’s use of her being his dirty little secret. The 
old pornography industry was a right-wing industry: secret money, 
secret sin, secret sex, secret promiscuity, secret buying and selling 
of women, secret profit, secret pleasure not only from sex but also 
from the buying and selling. The new pornography industry is a 
left-wing industry: promoted especially by the boys of the sixties as 
simple pleasure, lusty fun, public sex, the whore brought out of the 
bourgeois (sic) home into the streets for the democratic consumption 
of all men; her freedom, her free sexuality, is as his whore — and she 
likes it. It is her political will as well as her sexual will; it is 
liberation. The dirty little secret of the left-wing pornography 
industry is not sex but commerce. 

The new pornography industry is held, by leftist males, to be 
inherently radical. Sex is claimed by the Left as a leftist phe- 
nomenon; the trade in women is most of sex. The politics of 
liberation are claimed as indigenous to the Left by the Left; central 
to the politics of liberation is the mass-marketing of material that 
depicts women being used as whores. The pimps of pornography 
are hailed by leftists as saviors and savants. Larry Flynt has been 
proclaimed a savior of the counterculture, a working-class hero, and 
even, in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times signed by 
distinguished leftist literati, an “American Dissident” persecuted as 
Soviet dissidents are. Hugh Hefner is viewed as a pioneer of sexual 
freedom who showed, in the words of columnist Max Lerner, “how 
the legislating of sexuality could be fought, how the absurd anti- 
play and anti-pleasure ethic could be turned into a stylish hedonism 
and a lifeway which includes play and playfulness along with 


work.” 15 Lerner also credits Hefner with being a precursor of the 
women’s movement. 

On the Left, the sexually liberated woman is the woman of 
pornography. Free male sexuality wants, has a right to, produces, 
and consumes pornography because pornography is pleasure. 
Leftist sensibility promotes and protects pornography because 
pornography is freedom. The pornography glut is bread and roses 
for the masses. Freedom is the mass-marketing of woman as whore. 
Free sexuality for the woman is in being massively consumed, 
denied an individual nature, denied any sexual sensibility other 
than that which serves the male. Capitalism is not wicked or cruel 
when the commodity is the whore; profit is not wicked or cruel 
when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate 
bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in 
question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not 
wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or 
Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man’s 
pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of 
dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by 
the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is 
called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when it is sexual slavery; 
torture is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, 
whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new 
pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. 
The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too. 

But the example of Bluebeard should give us pause. 
For years he has been, for one reason or another, 
killing off his wives. Now, finding his life disgusting, 
devoid of sense, he searches his experience for 
pattern, sees that he has regularly murdered his 
wives, and asserts that next time he will do it on 
purpose. Voild! 

John Gardner, On Moral Fiction 


In the introduction to Black Fashion Model , a book, the reader is 
warned that this story “was tempered by the fire of experience, 
molded in the cauldron of intense, adult desire . . Those who are 
shy or those who want to see the world through rose-colored glasses 
are advised not to read the book. Watergate has shaken public 
confidence in the president and elected officials. Black Fashion Model 
will scrutinize “the possibilities for tragedy when public power 
becomes a tool for private use.” Another major theme in the story is 
“the simple unalterable fact of [the main character’s] color — she is a 
Negress, a young, beautiful black woman.” The abuse of power 
and the fact of prejudice are in the center of her life. Her name is 
Kelly Morris. She moves like a bird or snake. When she was five, 
she won a dance contest in the ghetto. She started studying dance 
when she was eight. Kelly’s mother wanted her to be a professional 
dancer but she had ideas of her own since she was “one of the most 
physically charming black women ever to leave the streets of the 
ghetto.” Her body is long, her breasts are big. Her features show “a 
perfect, savage beauty.” She has dark, thick lips, a wide and 
slightly squashed nose. She is beautiful and innocent. Her skin is 
“dark mellow cocoa” and deep brown. Kelly walks down the street 
in high heels and her tightest skirt. Men talk about how they want a 
piece of her, but how she will be famous one day. Kelly tires of 
dance. When she was seventeen, she allowed someone to take 
photographs of her. The savage beauty of her face became 
important in front of the camera. Men respected her for her 
innocence but the camera made Kelly “into a wanton, lusty 
woman\” Kelly became one of the most famous models in the 
country and the most famous black model. She remained innocent, 
a savage beauty, a black diamond. Robert Grey watches Kelly 
posing. Robert Grey imagines her on her knees between his white 
thighs. Robert Grey imagines her touching his cock. Robert Grey 
imagines her pink tongue sucking his cock. Robert Grey imagines 
her two hot red nipples. Robert Grey imagines her two black naked 
breasts and his pink hardening cock. Robert Grey imagines her 
saying: “I like a big stiff cock like that, Mr. Robert Grey. I really 
do . . .” Kelly stops posing. Kelly has a weakness for men like 


Robert Grey who look so helpless. Kelly thinks of her love, Doug, 
who is white. Robert Grey tells Kelly that Doug has been arrested 
on a morals charge. Robert Grey watches her breasts shimmer. 
Doug did something to a little girl. Robert Grey wonders what it 
would be like to be a photographer and take pictures of naked girls 
all day long. Robert Grey asks the photographer if he ever got the 
chance to — ah, ah — Eric, the photographer, blushes. Kelly returns 
wearing a fur coat and a bikini. Kelly thinks Robert Grey is a 
policeman. She follows him to his car to go to Doug in jail. Robert 
Grey abducts Kelly. Robert Grey pushes Kelly into a run-down 
house. A white woman is in the room. She is holding wet, glossy 
photographs in her hands. She calls Kelly a bitch. Kelly demands 
an explanation. The white girl winks at Robert Grey. The white 
girl tells Kelly she will explain. She shows Kelly pictures of Doug 
with a child, then another child, then another child. Kelly is sick. 
Robert Grey closes the blinds and double-locks the door. Robert 
Grey calls Kelly “little black girl.” Her black breasts shimmer. The 
white woman is going to take photographs of Kelly. Kelly’s breasts 
are exposed. The white female fingers are on her big black breasts. 
She gets upset. She struggles free. Robert Grey hits her. He hits 
her again. She cries and feels “pain and humiliating submissive- 
ness.” She falls into a heap of “half-naked black flesh,” her thighs 
undulate. Robert Grey undoes his pants. Robert Grey says: we 
know you want it. Angela, the white girl, is naked too. Angela 
mimics black slang. Kelly says that she always tried to be nice to 
white people. Angela tells her that this has nothing to do with race. 
Angela wants to use the photographs she is going to take of Kelly to 
make a career for herself, but she gets pleasure too from having 
Kelly there naked. Robert Grey’s prick is getting even harder. 
Robert Grey takes off Kelly’s bikini bottom. He sees the young 
black girl’s black hips. He wants to get his mouth around her black 
nipples. His hand touches her black breast. She squirms like a black 
snake. She is like an animal in a zoo. Angela takes photographs. 
Robert Grey’s fingers are on her black ankles and his soft white lips 
are on her thick black mouth. His cock rubs against her black thigh. 
Angela tells him to get Kelly in the cunt. Robert Grey fingerfucks 


her between her black loins. She screams. Robert Grey lets her go 
and watches her anus, which is in the middle of her black buttocks. 
He calls her “my little brown butterfly.” He grabs her and pulls her 
humiliatingly downward. Kelly tells them that what they are doing 
is not right. The white girl says: “you'd think this was a convention 
for the promotion of black-white relations the way she talks.” The 
white girl wants Kelly tied up. The white man ties up “the young 
pretty Negress,” She is tied spread-eagle. “Her naked black flesh 
shimmered ...” Angela kisses her and touches her all over. Robert 
Grey takes photographs. A chill goes up Kelly’s “small, black 
spine.” Angela kisses the black girl’s dark flesh. She arrives at “the 
Negress’s black nipple.” Angela sucks the black girl’s vagina. Kelly 
moans: do it, do it. Angela’s hand slides down the black girl’s belly 
and her dark hip. Angela’s hand holds her black breast. Angela 
takes her tongue away from “Kelly’s black cuntal lips” and calls 
Kelly her little black princess. Robert Grey gets excited. Kelly is 
“beginning to go out of her mind with the powerful affects [sic] of 
cunt-licking lust!” Angela continues to kiss the environs of Kelly’s 
cunt as Kelly wonders how she could have been a fashion model for 
a national magazine only a few hours ago and now she is in the 
middle of a nightmare with an ambitious lesbian photographer. 
Robert Grey now wants his. Angela tells him to give our little black 
friend a rest. Robert Grey demands that Angela suck him. Kelly 
looks on, despite herself. Angela sucks his cock. Angela wonders if 
our little black bitch can suck cock as well as she can. Angela keeps 
sucking. Kelly is disgusted to have to watch a white couple 
performing oral sex while she is tied like an animal. But an inner 
voice with masochistic urges is telling her that she loves being 
forced. Angela keeps sucking. Robert Grey begins to play with her 
vagina with his fingers. Robert Grey can see the black girl with her 
black thighs. Angela keeps sucking. Angela keeps sucldng. Robert 
Grey looks at Angela’s vicious face. Angela sucks “with wanton 
frenzy.” Kelly is disgusted. Kelly feels an erotic thrill. Kelly keeps 
watching. Angela keeps sucking. Angela’s cheeks bloat. Angela has 
become a wild animal in heat, a bitch. Angela keeps sucking. 
Robert Grey jams his fingers into her cunt. Angela sucks harder. 

W1 IORES 2 1 3 

The cum pours out of Robert Grey’s prick. Kelly tries to turn 
away but it is too late. Angela keeps sucking. Robert Grey rams his 
cock deep into her throat. Robert Grey says that he should have 
saved all that for our little black girl. Kelly tries not to think. Robert 
Grey decides to fuck the black girl. He licks her black breasts and 
her black lips. Robert Grey gloats that she is the wealthiest, most 
famous black fashion girl in the world. She struggles as he violates 
her black flesh. He climbs between her legs. He has never really 
looked at the vagina of a black girl before. It is just like his wife’s 
cunt except that his wife is an old hag. He sucks her. She has chills 
in her black loins. His penis touches her young black leg. She 
prays. His lips clamp down on her clitoris. She experiences erotic 
excitement and moral frustration. She prays. Robert Grey sucks. 
He looks at her cunt. Her skin and hair are deeply black. Her pubic 
hair is black fleece. He likes the deep crimson of “the inner cuntal 
area.” He sucks. Robert Grey extracts his tongue to say that “times 
like this I wish I was a black man.” He chomps on his lips. His lips 
and tongue are wanton and lewd. He sucks. She begs him to stop. 
She is hot. Robert Grey tells her to “grin and bear it like a good 
little nigger girl.” Kelly is hurt. She is being defiled physically and 
her self-respect is also being defiled. She is being made to enjoy it. 
She cries. He keeps calling her “little nigger girl.” He starts putting 
his fingers in her cunt. He calls her a dumb bitch. She is feeling the 
hot passions of arousal. Robert Grey is hurting her with his fingers. 
Kelly prays. Kelly thinks she will be torn. Kelly thinks she will 
faint. Robert Grey is sadistic and blushing. He makes her smell his 
fingers. She licks his fingers. She begs him to stop. He asks her 
what she would rather he do. He asks if he should ram her pussy 
with his fist or use a big rhino dildo or get the Great Dane that 
fucks women to come fuck her. She asks where Doug is. Robert 
Grey has a plan. Kelly looks up. She sees her smooth bla*:k belly. 
Robert Grey fingerfucks her. He keeps withdrawing. He spreads 
the fluid from her cunt on his cock with his fingers. He tells her it 
excites her. His monstrous white shaft is between her black thighs. 
His fingers pinch her clitoris. He puts his finger in her. Robert 
Grey’s “blood-filled cock would soon be ramming into her body.” 


Robert Grey does not want to hurt her by forcing his cock in too 
fast. He wants her to like it too. But Kelly is so excited she can’t 
wait. When his cock is buried in her belly she feels as though she is 
being stretched apart. She loves it. Robert Grey keeps fucking her. 
Kelly tries to resist wanting it but she can’t. Robert Grey is twice as 
excited because she is black and he is white! Robert Grey thrusts 
harder. She is hopelessly impaled. Angela comes from the dark- 
room with new photos. She laughs as she sees Kelly’s “writhing 
body welcoming the forceful thrusts of Robert Grey’s driving cock. 
The young black girl’s hot little gash seemed to gape in greedy 
desire.” Angela gets excited. Kelly feels ashamed and excited. Kelly 
starts screaming: Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me. Robert Grey 
sadistically stops. Robert Grey sadistically begins again. He keeps 
fucking her until she finally goes limp. “Her body was beaten and 
bruised and satiated from the ravishment, but she slowly but surely 
remembered who she was and who the man was she was with.” 
The camera is clicking. Angela shows her the photographs of her 
being fucked by Robert Grey. Kelly asks for Doug. They call Bart, 
Kelly’s former boyfriend. Bart is going to be the third person. Bart 
Kurtis stands above her. He undresses. He is a policeman with a 
detective’s .38. He has had Doug arrested. He wants revenge on 
Kelly. They untie her. Her breasts hang like wild black fruits. 
Angela sucks Bart. He wants Kelly to suck him. She is lust- 
wracked. He makes her suck. Her black lips suck. His prick is too 
big for any natural orifice. His cock keeps sticking at the bottom of 
her throat. She feels lust. She considers herself “the worst little 
nigger girl in the entire city.” Bart lunges viciously in her throat but 
she is sucking with a wild abandon. Her pain is horrible but her lust 
is overwhelming. She pulls away and manages to stop Bart from 
coming in her mouth. The white lavalike cum erupts. He tries to 
get it on her black cheek. She wonders how it is that a black man’s 
cum and a white man’s cum are the same color. Robert Grey gets 
her on top of him. Bart’s long, thick cock is getting ripe again. It is 
too big to fit in her cunt. Angela puts Robert Grey’s cock in Kelly’s 
cunt. Bart says: “Okay now, you little black whore, what about 
some brown-eye . . . just to let you feel how good it is to be home 


again, eh? I bet you’d really like to have my cock up your tail, hey?” 
She screams. Bart has a huge, meaty erection. Bart pushes and 
pushes and pushes in. She realizes with terror that Bart’s cock is not 
even nearly in her yet. He keeps going in farther and farther. It is 
like a crucifixion, “the nail pounding into her . . . defiling her 
asshole.” Then she starts to get excited and like it. She screams, 
fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, hurt me, fuck my ass my lover. Robert 
Grey fucks harder. Angela makes Kelly eat her cunt while the two 
men are fucking Kelly. Bart cums. Kelly cums and cums and cums. 
Her cumming makes the two men hard again. The four continue 
their lusty, wild abandonment. Kelly returns to work the next day. 
She tries to keep the secret of her “molestation and the horrible 
agony of her ultimate defilement and humiliation.” A national 
newspaper prints one of the lascivious photos and Kelly is ruined 
forever. The once most famous black fashion model retires to 
anonymity with Doug, the white lover she tried to protect. 

The relationship of all this to Watergate is not entirely clear. 

At the heart of the story, however, is indeed “the simple 
unalterable fact of her color.” 

All the sex in Black Fashion Model is the standard stuff of 
pornography: rape, bondage, humiliation, pain, fucking, assfuck- 
ing, fingerfucking, cocksucking, cuntsucking, kidnapping, hitting, 
the sexual cruelty of one woman toward another, pair sex, gang 

All the values are the standard values of pornography: the 
excitement of humiliation, the joy of pain, the pleasure of abuse, 
the magnificence of cock, the woman who resists only to discover 
that she loves it and wants more. 

The valuation of the woman is the standard valuation (“a wanton, 
lusty woman !”), except that her main sexual part is her skin, its 
color. Her skin with its color is her sex with its nature. She is 
punished in sex by sex and she is punished as a consequence of sex: 
she loses her status. All this punishment is deserved, owing to her 
sex, which is her skin. The genital shame of any woman is 
transferred to the black woman’s skin. The shame of sex is the 
shame of her skin. The stigma of sex is the stigma of her skin. The 


use of her sex is the use of her skin. The violence against her sex is 
violence against her skin. The excitement of torturing her sex is the 
excitement of torturing her skin. The hatred of her sex is the hatred 
of her skin. Her sex is stretched over her like a glove and when he 
touches her skin he puts on that glove. She models her skin, her 
sex. Her sex is as close, as available, as her skin. Her sex is as dark 
as her skin. The black model need not model naked to be sex; any 
display of her skin is sex. Her sex is right on the surface — her 
essence, her offense. 

Bart, the black male policeman with a gun, punishes her for 
leaving him, leaving home, leaving by moving up and out. His race 
is first made clear in a description of the size of his cock. Later the 
text reveals that he is a black man; but the reader, having 
encountered the size of his cock (“His prick is too big for any 
natural orifice”), is presumed to know already. He is the boss. The 
white folks are under his orders and doing what he wants. He is on 
top; he is the meanest; he fucks the black woman in the ass to hurt 
her the worst. These are all reasons to fear him, especially to fear 
his sex. He avenges his masculinity and his race on her — by using 
his huge cock. She ends up calling him her lover and begging him to 
hurt her: with each other, race is neutralized — they are just male 
and female after all. 

Kelly is a good girl (sic). Only in front of the camera is she 
wanton, lewd, lusty — a woman! Her sexual nature is in what the 
camera captures — her skin. Once actually used — revealed in sex to 
be what she is in skin — she loses everything. The camera captures 
her skin in sexual action, her skin actualized, being used for what it 
is. The huge cock reveals the black man. The black female’s skin 
reveals her: her skin is cunt; it has that sexual value in and of itself. 
Her face is savage beauty, savage cunt. She has no part that is not 
cunt. One wants her; one wants her skin. One has her; one has her 
skin. One rapes her; one rapes her skin. One humiliates her; one 
humiliates her skin. As long as her skin shows, her cunt shows. 
This is the specific sexual value of the black woman in pornography 
in the United States, a race-bound society fanatically committed to 
the sexual devaluing of black skin perceived as a sex organ and a 


sexual nature. No woman of any other race bears this specific 
burden in this country. In no other woman is skin sex, cunt in and 
of itself — her essence, her offense. This meaning of the black 
woman’s skin is revealed in the historical usage of her, even as it 
developed from the historical usage of her. This valuation of the 
black woman is real, especially vivid in urban areas where she is 
used as a street whore extravagantly and without conscience. 
Poverty forces her; but it is the sexual valuation of her skin that 
predetermines her poverty and permits the simple, righteous use of 
her as a whore. 

How, then, does one fight racism and jerk off to it at the same 
time? The Left cannot have its whores and its politics too. The 
imperial United States cannot maintain its racist system without its 
black whores, its bottom, the carnal underclass. The sexualization 
of race within a racist system is a prime purpose and consequence of 
pornography. In using the black woman, pornography depicts the 
whore by depicting her skin; in using the pornography, men spit on 
her sex and her skin. Here the relationship of sex and death could 
not be clearer: this sexual use of the black woman is the death of 
freedom, the death of justice, the death of equality. 

Gena Corea: Are you saying that some doctors 
are now feeling that in order to preserve the birth 
canal, they should do cesarean sections? 

Dr. Herbert Ratner: There are some doctors 
who have taken that position — that this is an im- 
provement on nature. I think that, deep down, this is 
the way doctors are really thinking, although they 
don’t articulate it. They somehow think they are 
preserving the birth canal, not only claiming that it 
protects against later pathology like cystocele and 
prolapse, which has never really been demon- 
strated — but they also think, though they probably 
don’t articulate it, they really think it’s a contribution 
to lovemaking. . . . Deep down, the American phy- 
sician thinks he’s doing a woman a favor in preserving 
her vagina for sexual activities. He can’t sew back the 


hymen [laughs] so he can’t take it back to a real 
virginal state, but if he could do that, he’d probably 
do it. 

Gena Corea: Are they doing her a favor or her 
husband a favor, do you think? 

Dr. Herbert Ratner: I think they’re doing this 
in good part for the husband but behind it is that if 
the wife can function better for the husband, she’s 
happier too. They’re doing it for both. 

Unpublished interview by Gena Corea, 
September 20, 1979 

The magazine is called Mom, It is subtitled “Big Bellied Mamas.” 
The model on the cover is white and great with child. She is 
fingering her huge belly. Her fingernails are painted purple. She is 
naked except for a garter belt that hangs unfastened, framing her 
huge belly. Inside, this model is called Anna. There are twenty- 
three pages of photographs of Anna, some in color, some black and 
white. In most of the photographs, Anna is displaying her huge 
belly as if it were — in the visual vocabulary of pornography — her 
breasts or ass or cunt. In the rest of the photographs, Anna is 
fingering other parts of her body, especially her genitals, or she is 
displaying her genitals. In many of the photographs Anna has on 
pieces of underwear — garter belt, bra, stockings, robe. In every 
case, the positioning of the underwear on and around her body 
suggests bondage. In two photographs Anna has a stethoscope: in 
one, it is on her belly, her legs spread, her underwear suggesting 
bondage; in the other it is approaching her vagina, her legs spread, 
her underwear suggesting bondage. In three photographs, Anna is 
shown being sprayed with a shower of water. The source of the 
water is not clear; the photographs suggest “water sports,” urine. In 
one photograph, there is the belly, in between her legs, her vaginal 
opening above her belly, her ass at the top of the frame. In other 
words, the model is on her stomach, with her legs spread, her 
vagina on display, shot from behind so that only her belly, vaginal 
opening, ass, and thighs are shown. Her garter belt, which must be 
around her waist, is shown as if it were a rope tied around her belly. 
In one photograph Anna stands, belly in profile, looking at several 


large dildoes. The accompanying text explains that while most 
pregnancies cause no trouble, there are some exceptions. Anna has 
had a lot of trouble with endrocrine gland disorders. Diseases of the 
thyroid are listed. Anna started getting awful pains in her back and 
stomach. This was the pituitary gland “out of order,” the “master 
gland” that produces “about six known hormones.” Anna told her 
doctor but he only nodded his head and took her temperature, 
which she thought was unprofessional. In her fourth month she felt 
the baby move. The doctor explained that the embryo was now a 
fetus and that it was “stretching itself in its bag of water.” Anna, 
being inquisitive, wanted to investigate. Could she X-ray the fetus? 
No. Anna had to look at pictures in medical books. Anna, like other 
women going through pregnancy, developed a philosophy. Before 
she had been fatalistic. Now she decided that she did have control 
over her life. Anna used to be morbid but now she is not. She is not 
concerned with failing anymore because she has succeeded in being 
pregnant. Anna “commands a new kind of attention now. She can 
tell by looking in a man’s eyes exactly what he is thinking. Her 
motherhood has awakened deep maternal instincts. He would never 
have had these same emotions if her stomach were flat.” Soon Anna 
will give birth. She has been warned by other women. She could 
have metabolic problems causing toxemia. “And then there is the 
struggle for the balance of power between the estrin and progestin 
hormones.” This struggle for the balance of power “irritates” the 
uterus and causes labor. Although Anna is usually concerned with 
warnings, she is determined to listen to advice but to maintain calm 
in the face of “these dire premonitions.” Anna’s outlook is com- 
pletely positive. She gets unexpected heartbeats at unexpected 
times and she has difficulty catching her breath. For several weeks 
she was worried because a close friend had a hemorrhage and 
almost died from internal bleeding: “From her doctor she dis- 
covered that there were two kinds of hemorrhage: antepartum, 
meaning the kind that comes before the baby is born and 
postpartum, which comes afterwards.” A ruptured uterus is also a 
grim possibility. Anna cannot stop thinking about this. But since 
Anna has been meditating, she is good at taking naps. Because the 


enlarged uterus displaces the rest of the abdomen, there can be 
frequent urination. Anna does not want to have to get up in the 
middle of the night and go all the way to the bathroom. She has 
wanted “a portable receptacle” on wheels. But she hasn’t found a 
store that sells one. Anna is very curious about men’s reactions to 
her pregnancy. She approaches strangers and asks them. The 
answers vary but most of the men were intrigued by her shape and 
size. Anna so far hasn’t had morning sickness. She is having trouble 
judging time. “All of this is part of being pregnant, of course.” 
Anna’s story is followed by twenty-two pages of photographs of 
Abbey, a white woman with big breasts distinguished by par- 
ticularly large, dark aureoles around her nipples. Abbey’s belly, big 
but not so big as Anna’s, is the center of attention, unless she is 
masturbating or her legs are spread to show her genitals. The 
photographs are in color and in black and white. Abbey could not 
believe she was pregnant. She had been swallowing fertility pills 
like mad. Abbey ovulated fourteen days before her menstrual 
period. Abbey could not see this miracle directly but her instincts 
told her it was happening: “In her mind she was right there 
watching this particle of herself begin an incredible cycle.” The life 
of the ovum is explained. The male ejaculate (“approximately one 
teaspoonful of fluid”) is explained. Abbey remembers the ejacula- 
tion and looks forward to it each time. The “male sperm” are “eel- 
like with arrow-shaped heads and they know exactly what they are 
and what is expected of them.” Their journey is described. Abbey 
is dizzy just thinking “that she is the container for all that running 
about.” The sperm mostly die but one doesn’t. It finds a bed. Once 
Abbey was told that she had a small tumor in her uterus that meant 
she couldn’t conceive. But the “obstacle dissolved away” and “there 
was no blockage in the junction to her Fallopian tubes.” Abbey 
could not believe she was pregnant. 44 And then Boom!” Abbey had 
taken the air insufflation test to see whether her Fallopian tubes 
were clear. The tubes were clear but still she had “to submit to 
postcoital scrutiny.” The examination was to see whether there 
were secretions in the vagina that were destroying the sperm — 
Abbey feared this was the case— or whether there were not enough 


sperm. During the tests Abbey could not have intercourse. Smears 
would show whether the sperm was viable or not when in touch 
“with the vaginal contents.” Abbey worried. She had “strange 
erotic dreams.” She dreamed that her limbs were separated from 
her body. Once she knew she was pregnant she became strong. All 
the trials of the past were erased. She could not dress with her 
former style but she knew a designer who made maternity clothes 
that would accentuate her femininity. She had to adjust to a new 
schedule. She couldn’t get up early and take a walk. Moving around 
wasn’t so simple. Abbey had to adjust to a new response to her 
body. Before she had had a stunning body and had gotten attention 
wherever she went. She wouldn’t wear a bra because she wanted 
her breasts to have freedom. “And, of course, her sleek, long legs 
were accustomed to stretching out and allowing her full buns all the 
liberty they desired.” Sometimes the wind would raise her skirt and 
her silk panties would show: “It didn’t take much imagination to 
visualize her perky pussy enclosed within that tiny strip of fabric.” 
Now all that “street fun” is gone. But Abbey will someday be 
“strutting her stuff’ again. Abbey has no regrets. Being pregnant is 
so exciting that “[s]ince changes are occurring so rapidly inside of 
her now she hardly has time to talk about it to anyone.” Before she 
was always on the telephone chatting with old lovers. Now she 
hasn’t the time. Pregnancy has stopped her informal communica- 
tion: “Abbey is limited by her condition . . . even dialing can 
become a chore when a girl is carrying around all that added 
weight.” Abbey still has an active mind, however. She can imagine 
herself doing all the things she used to be able to do when she was 
lighter. Abbey has pointers for women who are afraid of preg- 
nancy. Abbey has even written these down “because she wants to 
pass them on to all future mothers.” Abbey must spread her joy. 
Anyone who looks at her expression will conclude that “[t]his girl 
loves being pregnant!” Because her metabolism has changed, she 
has changed her eating habits. She eats pickles and ice cream and 
still gets the necessary twenty-five hundred calories a day, which is 
what counts. 

The pornography of pregnancy — the graphic depiction of moth- 


ers as whores — completes the picture. The maternal does not 
exclude the whorish; rather, the maternal is included in the whorish 
as long as the male wants to use the woman. The malevolence of the 
woman’s body is stressed: its danger to sperm and especially its 
danger to the woman herself. Her glands, metabolism, hormones, 
tubes, ovaries, “the vaginal contents” — all are potentially or actually 
malevolent. It is as if she is swollen and bound to explode from 

The sperm are male. The vagina will destroy them. Pregnancy is 
the triumph of the phallus over the death-dealing vagina. 

The women display themselves, display their sex, display their 
bellies. The huge belly is fetishized but the whore behind it stays 
the same: the cunt showing herself. 

The pregnancy is seen as a condition of both bondage and 
humiliation: her difficulty in moving is dwelled on with transparent 
delight and so is bladder irritation. 

The men who discuss sex say that there are two conflicting sides: 
those who believe only in reproductive sex versus those who believe 
in sex for pleasure not connected to reproduction. But there are not 
two sides: there is a continuum of phallic control. In the male 
system, reproductive and nonproductive sex are both phallic sex, 
use of the whore for male pleasure. The woman great with child is 
the woman whose sex is ready to burst, who has taken so much of 
the male into her that now he is growing there. 

The pornography of pregnancy, as of now, is right-wing 
pornography: kept secret, a hidden trade in the sluts who get 
knocked up. The emphasis on pregnancy is, in terms of sexual 
values, distinctly right-wing. This pornography is kept hidden to 
hide the truth it tells. Women are not cleansed or purified or made 
good by pregnancy. Pregnancy is confirmation that the woman has 
been fucked: it is confirmation that she is a cunt. In the male sexual 
system, the pregnant woman is a particular sexual object: she shows 
her sexuality through her pregnancy. The display marks her as a 
whore. Her belly is her sex. Her belly is proof that she has been 
used. Her belly is his phallic triumph. One does not abort his 
victory. The right wing must have its proof, its triumph; she, a 
woman of sex, must be marked. The pregnant woman is the sexual 


obsession of the right-wing male sexual mentality: that obsession 
kept secret but acted on in public policy that forbids abortion. The 
pregnancy is punishment for her participation in sex. She will get 
sick, her body will go wrong in a thousand different ways, she will 
die. The sexual excitement is in her possible death — her body that 
tried to kill the sperm being killed by it. Even in pregnancy, the 
possibility of her death is the excitement of sex. And now, the 
doctors have added more sex — to birth itself. Vagina means sheath. 
They cut directly into the uterus with a knife — a surgical fuck. She 
is tied down — literally cuffed and tied, immobilized by bondage, 
the bondage of birth, her legs spread; they pour drugs into her to 
induce labor; their bondage and their drugs cause intense and 
unbearable pain; she cannot have natural labor; she is drugged and 
sliced into, surgically fucked. The epidemic of cesarean sections in 
this country is a sexual, not a medical, phenomenon. The doctors 
save the vagina — the birth canal of old — for the husband; they fuck 
the uterus directly, with a knife. Modern childbirth — surgical 
childbirth — comes from the metaphysics of male sexual domina- 
tion: she is a whore, there to be used, the uterus of the whore 
entered directly by the new rapist, the surgeon, the vagina saved to 
serve the husband. 

In the system of male sexual domination explicated in pornogra- 
phy, there is no way out, no redemption: not through desire, not 
through reproduction. 

The woman’s sex is appropriated, her body is possessed, she is 
used and she is despised: the pornography does it and the 
pornography proves it. 

The power of men in pornography is imperial power, the power 
of the sovereigns who are cruel and arrogant, who keep taking and 
conquering for the pleasure of power and the power of pleasure. 

Women are the land, as Marcuse wrote. He did not write the 
rest: men are the army; penises and their symbolic representations 
are the weapons; terror is the means; violence is the so-called sex. 


And inside this system, women are pomeia , in our real live bodies 
the graphic depictions of whores, used as whores are used, valued 
as whores are valued. 

We will know that we are free when the pornography no longer 
exists. As long as it does exist, we must understand that we are the 
women in it: used by the same power, subject to the same 
valuation, as the vile whores who beg for more. 

The boys are betting on our compliance, our ignorance, our fear. 
We have always refused to face the worst that men have done to us. 
The boys count on it. The boys are betting that we cannot face the 
horror of their sexual system and survive. The boys are betting that 
their depictions of us as whores will beat us down and stop our 
hearts. The boys are betting that their penises and fists and knives 
and fucks and rapes will turn us into what they say we are — the 
compliant women of sex, the voracious cunts of pornography, the 
masochistic sluts who resist because we really want more. The boys 
are betting. The boys are wrong. 


The difficulties involved in writing and publishing this book were 
enormous. The pornography that I had to study became a central 
pan of my life and caused me great personal anguish. I had a very 
hard time making a living while writing this book, partly because 
magazines and newspapers, with few exceptions, refused to publish 
my work. Book publishers did not want to publish this book. The 
completion of this book is for me a triumph of survival as a writer. 
Many people helped me and I will never forget them. It is both fair 
and true to say that I would have gone under without them. 

John Stoltenberg and Elaine Markson: I can never express what I 
owe them. 

During the time I wrote this book all of these people helped me 
substantially: Kathleen Barry, Raymond Bongiovanni, Gena Corea, 
John Corwin, Sheryl Dare, Margaret Desmond, Wendi Dragonfire, 
Joanne Edgar, Sandra Elkin, Ellen Frankfort, Leah Fritz, Robert 
Gurland, Susan Hester, Lin Hill, Shere Hite, Patricia Hynes, 
Karla Jay, Eleanor Johnson, Judah Kataloni, Barbara Levy, Cath- 
arine MacKinnon, Donna Mages, Julie Melrose, Robin Morgan, 
Bert Pogrebin, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Janice Raymond, Adrienne 
Rich, Florence Rush, Anne Simon, Gloria Steinem, Margaret 
Stoltenberg, Vincent Stoltenberg, Geri Thoma, Laurie Woods and 
her colleagues at the National Center on Women and Family Law. 

Women’s groups all over the country also helped me — their 
activism was a constant support. I thank Women Against Pornogra- 
phy, Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media, Women 
Against Violence Against Women, Women Against Pornography, 
People Against Pornography, Feminists Against Pornography, 



Women Against Sexist Violence in Pornography and Media, and all 
the feminist activists with whom I have had the honor to march, to 
plan, to picket, to talk, and to do other things. And I thank those 
who have organized and sponsored lectures, conferences, and 
seminars on issues of violence against women in which I have 

1 owe very special thanks to Gena Corea for her contribution to 
my understanding of the pornography of pregnancy. 

I also thank the hundreds of women, perhaps over a thousand, 
who have told me their experiences of rape and battery over these 
last years. They are written into every page of this book and they 
were with me in memory as I wrote. I am particularly grateful to 
the women who told me about the use of pornography by their 
husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and lovers, and about the use of 
pornography in acts of sexual abuse that these women experienced. 
I thank the feminist workers in the areas of rape and battery who 
have shared their knowledge and experience with me. I thank, 
always and forever, the feminist writers who have written on 
violence against women. I thank the many readers of my work who 
communicated encouragement to me during the course of writing 
this book. I thank the many individuals who have read this book or 
parts of it in manuscript and in proof. 

I also thank Linda Marchiano, who in the last months of my 
writing this book has been an inspiration and an example. 

And finally I thank Sam Mitnick, who had the courage to publish 
this book, and the people at Perigee. 

Andrea Dworkin 
New York City 



i. Christabel Pankhurst, “The Government and White Slavery,” 
pamphlet reprinted from The Suffragette, April 18, April 25, 
1913, p. 11. 

Chapter 1: Power 

1. Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father (Boston: Beacon Press, 1974), 

p. 8. 

2. Daly, Beyond God the Father, p. 8. 

3. Phyllis Chesler and Emily Jane Goodman, Women, Money and 
Power (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1976), p. 31. 

4. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (New York: Harcourt, 
Brace & World, 1957), p. 36. 

5. Arthur Rimbaud, “A Season in Hell,” in A Season in Hell and 
The Drunken Boat, trans. Louise Varfcse, bilingual ed. (Norfolk, 
Conn.: New Directions Books, 1961), p. 3. 

6. Jil Clark, “Circulating Information,” interview with Allen 
Young, Gay Community News, May 12, 1979, p. 9. 

Chapter 2: Men and Boys 

1. Virginia Woolf, The Pargiters: The Novel-Essay Portion of THE 
YEARS, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska (New York: New York Public 
Library & Readex Books, 1977), p. 164. 

2. Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and 
Importance of Fairy Tales (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), p. 



3. John Stoltenberg, “Eroticism and Violence in the Father-Son 
Relationship,” in For Men Against Sexism , ed. Jon Snodgrass 
(Albion, Calif.: Times Change Press, 1977), p. 106. 

4. Norman O. Brown, Loves Body (New York: Random House, 
1966), p. 180. 

5. Brown, Love's Body , p. 244. 

6. Paul H. Gebhard, John H. Gagnon, Warded B. Pomeroy, and 
Cornelia V. Christenson, Sex Offenders: An Analysis of Types 
(New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, and Paul B. Hoeber, 
1965), p. 6. 

7. R. D. Laing, The Facts of Life (New York: Pantheon Books, 
1976), p. 65. 

8. Martin Luther, cited by Margaret Sanger, Margaret Sanger: An 
Autobiography (New York: Dover Publications, 1971), p. 210. 

9. Norman Mailer, The Prisoner of Sex (Boston: Little, Brown & 
Co., 1971), p. 126. 

10. Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. 2, pt. 2 (New 
York: Random House, 1937), p. 194. 

11. T. E. Lawrence, in a letter to Charlotte Shaw, March 26, 1924, 
British Museum, Department of Western Manuscripts, Addi- 
tional Manuscripts, cited by John E. Mack, A Prince of Our 
Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence (Boston: Little, Brown & 
Co., 1976), pp. 419-20. 

12. Giacomo Casanova, History of My Life , vol. 11, trans. Willard R. 
Trask (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), p. 15. 

13. Laing, Facts of Life , p. 3. 

14. D. H. Lawrence, Sex , Literature and Censorship , ed. Harry T. 
Moore (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1953), p. 49, 

15. Ellis, Psychology of Sex, vol. 2, pt. 3, p. 21. 

16. Georges-Michel Sarotte, Like a Brother , Like a Lover , trans. 
Richard Miller (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., An- 
chor Press, 1977), p. 165. 

17. Jeffrey Klein, “Born Again Porn,” Mother Jones , 
F^bruary-March 1978, p. 14. 

18. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own (New York: Harcourt, 
Brace & World, 1957), p. 29. 

Chapter 3: The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) 

1. Albert Camus, The Rebel , trans. Anthony Bower (New York: 
Random House, Vintage Books, 1954), p. 35. 

2. Camus, The Rebel, p. 36. 

NOTHS 229 

3. Cited by Ronald Hayman, De Sade: A Critical Biography (New 
York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1978), p. 81. 

4. Georges Bataille, Death and Sensuality (New York: Ballantine 
Books, 1969), p. 163. 

5. Donald Thomas, The Marquis de Sade (Boston: Little, Brown & 
Co., 1976), p. 103. 

6. Thomas, Marquis de Sade, p. 104. 

7. Ibid., p. 7. 

8. Simone de Beauvoir, “Must We Burn Sade?” trans. Annette 
Michelson, in The 120 Days of Sodom and Other Writings, 
Donatien-Alphonse-Fran$ois de Sade, trans. Austryn Wain- 
house and Richard Seaver (New York: Grove Press, 1967), p. 
8 . 

9. Richard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse, Foreword, Justine; 
Philosophy in the Bedroom; Eugenie de Franval, and Other Writings, 
Donatien-Alphonse-Fran?ois de Sade, trans. Richard Seaver 
and Austryn Wainhouse (New York: Grove Press, 1966), p. ix. 

10. Norman Gear, The Divine Demon: A Portrait of the Marquis de 
Sade (London: Frederick Muller, 1963), p. 135. 

11. Jean Paulhan, “The Marquis de Sade and His Accomplice,” in 
Justine; Philosophy in the Bedroom; Eugenie de Franval, and Other 
Writings, p. 7. 

12. Hobart Ryland, Introduction, Adelaide of Brunswick, Donatien- 
Alphonse-Frangois de Sade, trans. Hobart Ryland (Washing- 
ton, D.C.: Scarecrow Press, 1954), p. 6. 

13. Geoffrey Gorer, The Life and Ideas of the Marquis de Sade 
(London: Peter Owen, 1953), p. 28. 

14. Thomas, Marquis de Sade, p. 47. 

15. Ibid. 

16. Ibid., p. 66. 

17. Hayman, De Sade, p. 50. 

18. Angela Carter, The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography 
(New York: Pantheon Books, 1979), p. 29. 

19. Carter, Sadeian Woman, p. 29. 

20. Hayman, De Sade, p. 49. 

21. Roland Barthes, Sade/Fourier/Loyola, trans. Richard Miller 
(New York: Hill & Wang, 1976), p. 8. 

22. Gear, Divine Demon, p. 60. 

23. Thomas, Marquis de Sade, p. 76. 

24. Hayman, De Sade, p. 64. 

25. Edmund Wilson, “The Vogue of the Marquis de Sade,” in The 
Bit Between My Teeth: A Literary Chronicle of 1950-1965 (New 
York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965), p. 162. 


26. Gorer, Life and Ideas , p. 37. 

27. Ibid., p. 23. 

28. Wilson, “The Vogue of the Marquis de Sade,” p. 163. 

29. Camus, The Rebel , p. 36. 

30. Apollinaire, Preface to the 1949 edition of Juliette (Pauvert), 
cited by Austryn Wainhouse, Foreword to Juliette , Donatien- 
Alphonse-Frangois de Sade, trans. Austryn Wainhouse (New 
York: Grove Press, 1976), p. ix. 

31. Donatien-Alphonse-Frangois de Sade, Selected Letters , ed. Mar- 
garet Crosland, trans. W. J. Strachan (New York: October 
House, 1966), p. 65. 

32. Sade, Selected Letters , p. 66. 

33. Ibid., p. 74. 

34. Ibid., p. 70. 

35. Ibid., pp. 78-79. 

36. George Steiner, Language and Silence (New York: Atheneum 
Publishers, 1977), p. 69. 

37. Ibid. 

38. Barthes, Sade! Fourier! Loyola, p. 143. 

39. Apollinaire, cited by Wainhouse, Foreword to Juliette , p. ix. 

40. Sad e, Juliette, p. 991. 

41. John T. Noonan, Jr., “An Almost Absolute Value in History,” 
in The Morality of Abortion , ed. John T. Noonan, Jr. 
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970), p. 37. 

42. Linda Bird Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: 
Random House, 1978), p. 14. 

43. Gorer, Life and Ideas , p. 174. 

44. Sade, Philosophy in the Bedroom , in Justine; Philosophy in the 
Bedroom; Eugenie de Franval , and Other Writings , p. 207. 

45. Sade, “The 120 Days of Sodom,” 120 Days of Sodom , p. 293. 

46. Sade, Philosophy in the Bedroom , p. 267. 

47. Sade, “Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become 
Republicans,” in Philosophy in the Bedroom , p. 319. 

48. Peter Weiss, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat 
As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the 
Direction of the Marquis de Sade , trans. Geoffrey Skelton (New 
York: Atheneum Publishers, 1967), p. 92. 

49. Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism (New York: 
Warner Books, 1979), p. 132. 

50. Lasch, Narcissism , p. 133. 

51. Gerald and Caroline Greene, S-M: The Last Taboo (New York: 
Grove Press, 1974), p. 64. 

NOTES 231 

52. De Beauvoir, “Must We Burn Sade?” p. 20. 

53. Camus, The Rebel, p. 47. 

54. Sade, “Oxtiern,” in 120 Days of Sodom, p. 701. 

55. Sade, Juliette, p. 269. 

56. Richard Gilman, Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet (New 
York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980), p. 81. 

Chapter 4: Objects 

1. Sylvia Pankhurst, The Suffragette Movement (London: Virago, 
1978), p. 95. 

2. Ernest Becker, The Structure of Evil (New York: Free Press, 
1976), p. 158. 

3. Ernest Becker, The Revolution in Psychiatry (London: Collier- 
Macmiilan, 1964), p. 19. 

4. Becker, Revolution in Psychiatry, p. 19. 

5. Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism (New York: 
Warner Books, 1979), p. 81. 

6. Margaret S. Mahler, Fred Pine, and Anni Bergman, The 
Psychological Birth of the Human Infant (New York: Basic Books, 
1975), p. 109. 

7. Mahler, Pine, and Bergman, Psychological Birth, p. 12. 

8. Becker, Revolution in Psychiatry, pp. 32-33. 

9. Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and 
Importance of Fairy Talcs (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976), p. 

10. Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. 2, pt. 3 (New 
York: Random House, 1937), p. 539. 

11. Ferdinand Lundberg and Marynia F. Farnham, Modern Woman: 
The Lost Sex (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1947), 
p. 275. 

12. Becker, Revolution in Psychiatry, p. 52. 

13. Hannah Tillich, From Time to Time (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.: 
Stein & Day, 1974), p. 176. 

14. Theophile Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin (New York: Ives 
Washburn, 1929), p. 200. 

15. Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin, p. 194. 

16. Anthony Storr, Sexual Deviation (Harmondsworth, England: 
Penguin Books, 1964), pp. 44-45. 

17. Anthony M. Ludovici, Woman (London: Constable & Co., 
1926), p. 25. 


18. Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: G. P. Putnam’s 
Sons, 1975), p. 299. 

19. Weininger, Sex and Character , p. 92. 

20. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, diary, April 15, 1872, cited by 
James Cleugh, The First Masochist : A Biography of Leopold von 
Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895) (London: Anthony Blond, 1967), p. 

21. Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse , trans. Richard Howard 
(New York: Hill & Wang, 1979), p. 31. 

22. H. L. Mencken, In Defense of Women (Garden City, N.Y.: 
Garden City Publishing Co., 1922), pp. 135-36. 

23. James Lewton Brain, The Last Taboo: Sex and the Fear of Death 
(Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Anchor Press, 1979), p. 55. 

24. Brain, Last Taboo, p. 46. 

25. Norman Mailer, The Prisoner of Sex (Boston: Little, Brown & 
Co., 1971), pp. 117-18; also in his Genius and Lust: A Journey 
Through the Major Writings of Henry Miller (New York: Grove 
Press, 1976), p. 94. 

26. Thomas Hardy, The Well-Beloved (London: Macmillan London, 
1978), p. 34. 

27. Mary Welsh Hemingway, How It Was (New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1976), p. 170. 

28. Robert J . Stoller, Sexual Excitement: Dynamics of Erotic Life (New 
York: Pantheon Books, 1979), p. 8. 

29. Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew trans. George J. Becker 
(New York: Schocken Books, 1970), pp. 10-11. 

30. John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian U*n,” in John Keats and Percy 
Bysshe Shelley: Complete Poetical Works (New York: Modern 
Library, n.d.), p. 185. 

31. George Sand, My Life , ed. and trans. Dan Hofstadter (New 
York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1979), p. 25. 

32. Herbert Marcuse, An Essay on Liberation (Boston: Beacon Press, 
1969), pp. 26-27. 

33. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Philosophy of Composition,” in Literary 
Criticism of Edgar Allan Poe , ed. Robert L. Hough (Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1965), p. 26. 

34. Georges Bataille, Death and Sensuality (New York: Ballantine 
Books, 1969), p. 140. 

35. Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, The Woman of the Eighteenth 
Century , trans. Jacques Le Clercq and Ralph Roeder (New 
York: Minton, Balch & Co., 1927), pp. 10-11. 


36. Charles Baudelaire, Journ'aux Computes (Paris, 1963), p. 1272, 
cited by Alex de Jonge, Baudelaire: Prince of Clouds (New York: 
Paddington Press, 1976), p. 5. 

37. Flaubert, in a letter to Louise Colet, June 1853, Correspondance , 
vol. 3, p. 216, cited by Enid Starkie, Flaubert: The Making of the 
Master (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1967), p. 74. 

38. Gustave Flaubert, Sentimental Education, trans. Robert Baldick 
(Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1974), p. 419. 

39. Flaubert, Sentimental Education, p. 419. 

40. Havelock Ellis, Sex and Marriage (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood 
Press, Publishers, 1977), p. 42. 

41. Becker, Structure of Evil, p. 177. 

42. Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, trans. 
Harry E. Wedeck(New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1965), pp. 

43. C. A. Tripp, The Homosexual Matrix (New York: New Amer- 
ican Library, 1976), p. 19. 

44. Tripp, Homosexual Matrix, p. 142. 

45. Ibid., p. 17. 

46. Ibid. 

47. Maurice North, The Outer Fringe of Sex (London: Odyssey 
Press, 1970), p. 61. 

48. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, p. 246. 

49. Becker, Structure of Evil, p. 179. 

50. Sigmund Freud, “Fetishism,” in The Future of Illusion; Civiliza- 
tion and Its Discontents; and Other Works, eds. and trans. James 
Strachey and Anna Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete 
Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, vol. 2 1 (London: Hogarth 
Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1968), pp. 152-53. 

51. Storr, Sexual Deviation, pp. 55-56. 

52. Ibid., p. 54. 

53. Ibid., p. 56. 

54. Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin, and 
Paul H. Gebhard, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female 
(Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1953), pp. 678-79. 

55. Charles Winick, “A Neuter and Desexualized Society?” in The 
New Sexual Revolution, eds. Lester A. Kirkendall and Robert N. 
Whitehurst (New York: Donald W. Brown, 1971), p. 99. 

56. Lars Ullerstam, The Erotic Minorities, trans. Anselm Hollo 
(London: Calder & Boyars, 1967), p. 103. 

57. Tillich, From Time to Time, p. 87. 


58. Ibid., p. 14. 

59. Herbert Marcuse, Negations (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968), p. 

60. Adrienne Rich, “Twenty-one Love Poems,” I, The Dream of a 
Common Language (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978), p. 

Chapter 5: Force 

1 . Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. 1 , pt. 2 (New 
York: Random House, 1936), p. 128. 

2. Robert Briffault, The Mothers: The Matriarchal Theory of Social 
Origins ( New York: Macmillan Co., 1931), p. 48. 

3. Kate Millett, Sexual Politics ( New York: Avon Books, 1971), p. 

4. Bruno Bettelheim, Symbolic Wounds (Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 
1954), pp. 64-65. 

5. Robert J . Stoller, Sexual Excitement: Dynamics of Erotic Life (New 
York: Pantheon Books, 1979), p. 161. 

6. A. Merriam-Webster, Webster's Third New International Diction- 
ary of the English Language Unabridged , ed. Philip Babcock Gove 
(Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976), p. 1034. 

7. Elizabeth Janewav, Between Myth and Morning: Women Awaken- 
ing (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1974), pp. 197-98. 

8. Suzanne Brpgger, Deliver Us from Love, trans. Thomas Teal 
(New York: Delacorte Press, Seymour Lawrence, 1976), p. 

9. Alex Mallow and Leon Chabot, Laser Safety Handbook (New 
York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1978), p. 4. 

10. H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds in The Invisible Man; The 
War of the Worlds; A Dream of Armageddon (London: T. Fisher 
Unwin, 1924), p. 247. 

11. Richard B. Nehrich, Jr., Glenn I. Voran, and Norman F. 
Dessel, Atomic Light: Lasers — What They Are and How They Work 
(New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1967), p. 101. 

12. Ronald Brown, Lasers: Tools of Modem Technology (Garden City, 
N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1968), p. 26. 

13. O. S. Heavens, Lasers (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 
1971), p. 140. 

14. P. A. Cirincione, “Biological Effects of Lasers: Safety Rec- 
ommendations,” in Laser Technology and Applications, ed. Samuel 

NOTES 235 

L. Marshall (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1968), p. 

15. Heavens, Lasers, pp. 140-41. 

16. Nehrich, Voran, and Dessel, Atomic Light, p. 94. 

17. Mallow and Chabot, Laser Safety Handbook, p. 26. 

18. John F. Ready, Effects of High-Power Laser Radiation (New York: 
Academic Press, 1971), p. 345. 

19. Pennethorne Hughes, Witchcraft (Harmondsworth, England: 
Penguin Books, 1971), p. 183. 

20. Jean-Paul Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew, trans. George J. Becker 
(New York: Schocken Books, 1970), pp. 48-49. 

21. Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape 
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975), p. 124. 

22. George Steiner, Language and Silence (New York: Atheneum 
Publishers, 1977), p. 76. 

23. Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. 1, pt. 2, pp. 68-69. 

24. Ibid., pp. 32-33. 

25. Ibid., p. 89. 

26. Theodor Reik, Of Love and Lust (New York: Farrar, Straus & 
Co., 1957), p. 341. 

27. Reik, Of Love and Lust, pp. 346-47. 

28. Stoller, Sexual Excitement, p. 79. 

29. Georges Bataille, Death and Sensuality (New York: Ballantine 
Books, 1969), p. 126. 

30. C. A. Tripp, The Homosexual Matrix (New York: New Amer- 
ican Library, 1976), p. 56. 

31. Tripp, Homosexual Matrix, p. 56. 

32. Ibid. 

33. R. H. Tawney, Equality (London: Unwin Books, 1964), p. 105. 

34. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (New 
York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1967), p. 69. 

35. A. Schawlow, cited by Nehrich, Voran, and Dessel, Atomic 
Light, p. 102. 

36. Tripp, Homosexual Matrix, p. 56. 

37. Ibid., p. 110. 

38. Stoller, Sexual Excitement, p. 4. 

39. Molly Haskell, “Rape in the Movies: Update on an Ancient 
War,” The Village Voice, October 8, 1979, p. 45. 

40. Georges Bataille, Story of the Eye, trans. Joachim Neugroschel 
(New York: Urizen Books, 1977), pp. 24-25. 

41. Bataille, Story of the Eye, p. 26. 

42. Ibid., p. 98. 


43. Ibid., p. 120. 

44. Ibid., p. 63. 

45. Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin, 
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W. B. Saun- 
ders Co., 1948), p. 9. 

46. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, pp. 41-42. 

47. Ibid., p. 43. 

48. Arno Karlen, Sexuality and Homosexuality (New York: W. W. 
Norton & Co., 1971), p. 443. 

49. Sigmund Freud, The FreudIJung Letters: The Correspondence 
Between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire, 
trans. Ralph Manheim and R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, N.J.: 
Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 64. 

50. Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin, and 
Paul H. Gebhard, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female 
(Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Co., 1953), p. 705. 

51. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, p. 205. 

52. Ibid., p. 217. 

53. Ibid., p. 363. 

54. Ibid., p. 468. 

55. Ibid., p. 589. 

56. Ibid., p. 223. 

57. Ibid., p. 545. 

58. Ibid., p. 578. 

59. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 369. 

60. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, p. 207. 

61. Ibid., p. 209. 

62. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 374. 

63. Ibid., p. 371. 

64. Ibid. 

65. Kinsey et al.. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, p. 595. 

66. Ibid., pp. 385-86. 

67. Ibid., p. 238. 

68. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 410. 

69. Paul H. Gebhard, John H. Gagnon, Wardell B. Pomeroy, and 
Cornelia V. Christenson, Sex Offenders: An Analysis of Types 
(New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, and Paul B. Hoeber, 
1965), p. 178. 

70. Kinsey et al.. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 320. 

71. Gebhard et al.. Sex Offenders, p. 6. 

72. Ibid., p. 178. 

73. Ibid., p. 9. 

NOTES 2?7 

74. Ibid., p. 54. 

75. Ibid., pp. 84-85. 

76. Ibid., p. 85. 

77. Ibid., p. 101. 

78. Ibid. 

79. Ibid., p. 156. 

80. Ibid., pp. 128-29. 

81. Ibid., p. 129. 

82. Ibid. 

83. Ibid. 

84. Ibid. 

85. Ibid., p. 128. 

86. Ibid., p. 129. 

87. Ibid., pp. 108-9. 

88. Ibid., p. 109. 

89. Ibid., p. 177. 

90. Ibid. 

91. Ibid., p. 178. 

Chapter 6: Pornography 

1. Kate Millett, Tbe Prostitution Papers (New York: Avon Books, 
1973), p. 95. 

Chapter 7: Whores 

1. H. L. Mencken, In Defense of Women (Garden City, N.Y.: 
Garden City Publishing Co., 1922), p. 187. 

2. William Acton, Prostitution (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 
Publishers, 1969), p. 118. 

3. Jane Addams, A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (New York: 
Macmillan Co. , 1914), p. 40. 

4. Sigmund Freud, The Freud! Jung Letters: The Correspondence 
Between Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung, ed. William McGuire, 
trans. Ralph Manheim and R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, N.J.: 
Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 503. 

5. Rene Guyon, Sexual Freedom, trans. Eden and Cedar Paul (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958), p. 239. 

6. Guyon, Sexual Freedom, p. 198. 

7. Ibid., p. 200. 

8. Ibid., p. 204. 


9. John Wolfenden, Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences 
and Prostitution (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 
1957), p. 80. 

10. Alberto Moravia, The Woman of Rome, trans. Lydia Holland 
(New York: Manor Books, 1974), p. 88. 

1 1 . Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (New York: G. P. Putnam’s 
Sons, 1975), p. 219. 

12. D. H. Lawrence, Sex, Literature and Censorship, ed. Harry T. 
Moore (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1953), p. 69. 

13. Lawrence, Sex, Literature and Censorship, p. 69. 

14. Kate Millett, Sexual Politics (New York: Avon Books, 1971), p. 

15. Max Lemer, “Playboy: An American Revolution of Morality,” 
New York Post, January 10, 1979. 


Works of Pornography Analyzed in This Book 

Anderson, Greg. 1 Love a Laddie. United States: Continental 
Classics, 1970. 

“Barbered Pole.” Cavalier, December 1978, pp. 7-11. 

Bataille, Georges. Story of the Eye. Translated by Joachim Neu- 
groschel. New York: Urizen Books, 1977. 

“Beaver Hunters.” Hustler, December 1978, p. 18. 

Guber, Dr. Fritz. “The Art of Dominating Women.” He & She, 
January 1979, p. 46. 

“Last Tango in Tijuana.” Hustler, December 1978, pp. 73-84. 

“Les Girls.” Swank, June 1979, pp. 27-33. 

Miller, Jessie. Whip Chick. New York: Bee-Line Books, 1972. 

Mom, no. 1. 

“Playboy’s Roving Eye.” Playboy, July 1979, pp. 246-47. 

Sade, Marquis de, works of (see full Bibliography). 

Wilson, John. Black Fashion Model. California: Publisher’s Con- 
sultants, 1978. 

In addition to the works listed above, I have read or looked at 
thousands of pieces of pornography: photographs, books, maga- 
zines, and films. 


Abbott, Sidney, and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-On Woman. 
New York: Stein & Day, 1973. 

Acton, William. Prostitution. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 
Publishers, 1969. 



Addams, Jane. A A lew Conscience and an Ancient Evil. New York: 
Macmillan Co., 1914. 

Alcott, Louisa May. Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa 
May Alcott. Edited by Madeleine Stern. New York: Bantam 
Books, 1978. 

Alcott, William A. The Young Woman's Guide to Excellence. Boston: 
George W. Light, 1840. 

Alexander, Shana. Anyone's Daughter. New York: Viking Press, 

American Medical Association Committee on Human Sexuality. 
Human Sexuality. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1973. 

Andelin, Aubrey P. Man of Steel and Velvet. Santa Barbara, Calif.: 
Pacific Press, 1972. 

Andre le Chaplain. The Art of Courtly Love. Translated by John Jay 
Parry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1941. 

Apuleius. The Golden Ass. Translated by Robert Graves. New York: 
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979. 

Ardrey, Robert. The Territorial Imperative. New York: Bantam 
Books, 1973. 

Arendt, Hannah. Antisemitism. New York: Harcourt, Brace & 
World, 1968. 

. Eichmann in Jerusalem : A Report on the Banality of Evil. Rev. 

ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1977. 

. Men in Dark Times. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 


. On Revolution. New York: Viking Press, 1976. 

Aries, Philippe. Western Attitudes Toward Death. Translated by 
Patricia M. Ranum. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1977. 

Armstrong. Louise. Kiss Daddy Goodnight. New York: Hawthorn 
Books, 1978. 

Artaud, Antonin. Collected Works. Vol. 1. Translated by Victor 
Corti. London: Calder & Boyars, 1968. 

. Collected Works. Vol. 2. Translated by Victor Corti. 

London: Calder & Boyars, 1971. 

Ashley, Elizabeth. Actress. New York: M. Evans & Co., 1978. 

Astell, Mary. A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. New York: Source 
Book Press, 1970. 

Atkins, Thomas R., ed. Sexuality in the Movies. Bloomington: 
Indiana University Press, 1975. 

Atkinson, Ti-Grace. Amazon Odyssey. New York: Links Books, 

Atwood, Margaret. Lady Oracle. New York: Avon Books, 1978. 


Bacall, Lauren. Lauren Bacall By Myself. New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1978. 

Bainbridge, John. Garbo. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston r 

Baldwin, James, and Nikki Giovanni. A Dialogue. Philadelphia: J. 
B. Lippincott Co., 1973. 

Balsdon, J. P. V. D. Roman Women: Their History and Habits. New 
York: John Day Co., 1963. 

Balzac, Honors de. A Harlot High and Low. Translated by Rayner 
Heppenstall. New York: Penguin Books, 1977. 

. Lost Illusions. Translated by Herbert J. Hunt. New York: 

Penguin Books, 1979. 

Banks, Lynn Reid. Path to the Silent Country: Charlotte Bronte's Yean 
of Fame. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978. 

Barbach, Lonnie Garfield. For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female 
Sexuality. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., Anchor Press, 

Barker-Benfield, G. J. The Horrors of the Half-Known Life. New 
York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1976. 

Barr, Jennifer. Within a Dark Wood: The Personal Story of a Rape 
Victim. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1979. 

Barreno, Maria Isabel; Maria Teresa Horta; and Maria Velho Da 
Costa. The Three Marias: New Portuguese Letters. Translated by 
Helen R. Lane. New York: Bantam Books, 1975. 

Barrett, William. The Illusion of Technique. Garden City, N.Y.: 
Doubleday & Co., Anchor Press, 1978. 

Barry, Kathleen. Female Sexual Slavery. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 
Prentice-Hall, 1979. 

Bart, Benjamin F. Flaubert. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University 
Press, 1967. 

Barthes, Roland. A Lover’s Discourse. Translated by Richard 
Howard. New York: Hill & Wang, 1979. 

. Roland Barthes. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: 

Hill & Wang, 1977. 

. Sadel Fourier/ Loyola. Translated by Richard Miller. New 

York: Hill & Wang, 1976. 

Bataille, Georges. Blue of Noon. Translated by Harry Mathews. 
New York: Urizen Books, 1978. 

. Death and Sensuality. New York: Ballantine Books, 1969. 

. Story of the Eye. Translated by Joachim Neugroschel. New 

York: Urizen Books, 1977. 

Baudelaire, Charles. The Letters of Baudelaire. Translated by Arthur 


Symons. New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1927, 

Baum, Charlotte; Paula Hyman; and Sonya Michel. The Jewish 
Woman in America . New York: Dial Press, 1976. 

Becker, Ernest. The Revolution in Psychiatry . London: Collier- 
Macmillan, 1964. 

. The Structure of Evil. New York: Free Press, 1976. 

Bednarik, Karl. The Male in Crisis . Translated by Helen Sebba. 

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970. 

Beer, Patricia. Reader , I Married Him. New York: Barnes & Noble, 

Bell, Alan P., and Martin S. Weinberg. Homosexualities . New York: 
Simon & Schuster, 1978. 

Bell, Arthur. Kings Don't Mean a Thing: The John Knight Murder Case . 

New York: William Morrow & Co., 1978. 

Bell, Clive. Civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1928. 
Benet, Mary Kathleen. Writers in Love . New York: Macmillan 
Publishing Co. , 1977. 

Bennett, H. S. Six Medieval Men and Women . Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press, 1955. 

Berg, A. Scott. Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. New York: E. P. 
Dutton & Co., 1978. 

Bernanos, Georges. Tradition of Freedom. New York: Roy Pub- 
lishers, 1950. 

Berrigan, Daniel. A Book of Parables. New York: Seabury Press, 

Bettelheim, Bruno. Surviving and Other Essays. New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1979. 

. Symbolic Wounds. Glencoe, III.: Free Press, 1954. 

. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy 

Tales. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. 

Beyle, Marie-Henri [Stendhal]. Love. Translated by Gilbert and 
Suzanne Sale. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1975. 
Blanchot, Maurice. “Sade.” In Justine ; Philosophy in the Bedroom ; 
Eugenie de Franval , and Other Writings , Donatien-Alphonse-Fran- 
£ois de Sade. Translated by Richard Seaver and Austryn 
Wainhouse, pp. 36-72. New York: Grove Press, 1966. 

Blease, W. Lyon. The Emancipation of English Women. London: 
Constable & Co., 1910. 

Bleuei, Hans Peter. Sex and Society in Nazi Germany. Edited by 
Heinrich Fraenkel. Translated by J. Maxwell Brownjohn. Phila- 
delphia:^ B. Lippincott Co., 1973. 

Block, Iwan. Marquis de Sade: The Man and His Age. Translated by 
James Bruce. Newark, N.J.: Julian Press, 1931. 


Bode, Janet. Fighting Back: How to Cope with the Medical , Emotional, 
and Legal Consequences of Rape. New York: Macmillan Publishing 

Co., 1978. 

Borges, Jorge Luis. The Book of Sand. Translated by Norman 
Thomas di Giovanni. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1977. 
Boserup, Ester. Woman's Role in Economic Development. New York: 
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Fag Rag, no. 26. 

Fallaci, Oriana. “An Interview with Khomeini.” The New York 
Times Magazine, October 7, 1979, pp. 29-31. 

The Family Planning Council of Western Massachusetts, Inc., News, 
January 1, 1978. 

Forer, Lois G. “Rape Is an Expression of Hatred.” Letter, The New 
York Times, February 7, 1979. 

Gelbert, Bruce Michael. “Coming Out ‘S’ in Print.” Fag Rag, Fall 
1978, pp. 7-8. 

Gelles, Richard J. “Violence and Pregnancy: A Note on the Extent 
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Gengle, Dean. “Scripture from the Book of Krassner.” The Advo- 
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Gilman, Richard. “Position Paper." The New York Tima Book 
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Goldstein, Richard. “Some Parting Shots.” The Village Voice, 
August 13, 1979, p. 44. 

Greer, Philip, and Myron Kandel. “Road to Videotape Market Is 
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Griffin, Susan. “On Pornography.” Chrysalis, no. 4, pp. 15-17. 


Guidelines for Equal Treatment of the Sexes in McGraw-Hill Book 
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Hagberg, Karen. “Collective Thinking: Karen Hagberg Com- 
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Hannon, Gerald. “Devices and Desires.” The Body Politic, 
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Haskell, Molly. “Rape in the Movies: Update on an Ancient War.” 
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Hentoff, Nat. “The New Legions of Erotic Decency.” Inquiry, 
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Heresies: Third World Women 2, no. 4, issue 8 (1979). 

Hinckle, Warren. “Why Eldridge Cleaver Is a Wife-Beater.” San 
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Horn, Richard. “The Lighter Side of Laser.” The New York Times 
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Jay, Karla. “Pot, Porn, and the Politics of Pleasure.” Mim- 

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Johnston, Jill. “A Few Rude Generalizations on Behalf of Enslave- 
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Jong, Erica. “You Have to Be Liberated to Laugh.” Playboy, April 
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“Journal Mothers Testify to Cruelty in Maternity Wards.” Ladies' 
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Keen, Sam. “A Voyeur in Plato’s Cave.” Psychology Today, February 
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Keshishian, John M. “An Anatomy of a Burmese Beauty Secret.” 
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Kitzinger, Sheila. “Some Mothers’ Experiences of Induced La- 
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Klein, Jeffrey. “Born Again Porn.” Mother Jones, February-March 
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Kleinberg, Seymour. “Alienated Affections: Friendships Between 
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Kornbluth, Jesse. “The Education of Christie Hefner.” Savvy, 
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Kostash, Myrna. “Power and Control: A Feminist View of 
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Kristol, Irving. “The Shadow of the Marquis.” Encounter , February 
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“L.A. Murder ‘Targets’ — 500 Girls.” San Francisco Chronicle, 
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Lauritsen, John. “Dangerous Trends in Feminism: Disruptions, 
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Lemer, Max. “Playboy: An American Revolution of Morality.” 
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Levering, Robert. “TV on Trial.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian, 
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Lindsey, Robert. “Sex Films Find Big Market in Home Video.” 
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Lorde, Audre. Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. Pamphlet, 1978. 

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Malamuth, Neil M. “Erotica, Aggression and Perceived Appropri- 
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, and James V. P. Check. “Penile Tumescence and 

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; Scott Haber; and Seymour Feshbach. “Testing Hypoth- 
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, and Barry Spinner. “A Longitudinal Content Analysis of 

Sexual Violence in the Best-Selling Erotica Magazines.” Win- 
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The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China. Peking: Foreign 
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Mead, Margaret. “Women and the ‘New’ Pornography.” Redbook, 
February 1976, pp. 29-32. 

Miles, Angela. “The Politics of Feminist Radicalism: A Study in 
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Miller, Marilyn G., and Janet S. McCoy. Domestic Violence in 
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Mitzel, John. “Boston/Boise: Pederasty in the Athens of America?” 
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Money, John. “Bisexual, Homosexual, and Heterosexual: Society, 
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. “Imagery in Sexual Hang-Ups.” The Humanist , 

March-April 1978. Reprint. 

. “List of Inclusion or Displacement Paraphilias; Hypo- 

philias, Male and Female,” 1976. Mimeographed. 

. “Sex, Love, and Commitment.” Journal of Sex and Marital 

Therapy 2, no. 4 (Winter 1976): 273-76. 

. “Statement on Antidiscrimination Regarding Sexual Ori- 
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Morgan, Robin. “How to Run the Pornographers Out of Town 
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Morgan, Ted. “United States Versus the Princes of Porn.” The New 
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Moss, Leland. “In Pursuit of Pornography.” Gaysweek, January 30, 
1978, p. 23. 

Munk, Erika. “A Case of Sexual Abuse.” The Village Voice, October 
22, 1979, p. 1. 

Oh. Gyn. News 14, no. 19 (October 1, 1979), no. 20 (October 15, 
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24 (December 15, 1979); 15, no. 5 (March 1, 1980), no. 6 (March 
15, 1980), no. 7 (April 1, 1980), no. 8 (April 15, 1980), no. 9 (May 
1, 1980). 

Pankhurst, Christabel, “The Government and White Slavery.” 
Pamphlet reprinted from The Suffragette, April 18, April 25, 1913. 

Peary, Gerald. “Woman in Porn.” Take One, September 1978, pp. 


“Playboy Gives First Amendment Awards.” The National Law 
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Pliner, Roberta. “Fag-hags, Friends or Fellow-travelers?” Christo- 
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Poett, James. “Deep Peep.” The Village Voice, May 1 , 1978, p. 1 . 

Polskin, Howard. “Pornography Unleashed.” Panorama, July 1980, 
pp. 34-39. 

Popert, Ken. “Towards a Theory of Fistfucking.” The Body Politic, 
March 1980, p. 22. 

Prescott, James W. “Is There a Cure for Violence?” Penthouse 
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“Preying on Playgrounds: The Sexploitation of Children in Por- 
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Reed, Rex. “'Cruising’ sickens, insults, and distorts.” Daily News, 
February 15, 1980. 

Reeves, Tom. “In Defense of Boy Love.” Gay Community News, 
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Rembar, Charles. “Obscenity — Forget It.” The Atlantic, May 1977, 
pp. 37-41. 

Rohrbaugh, Joanna Bunker. “Femininity on the Line." Psychology 
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“Schedule of Course on Human Sexuality.” Piscataway, N.J.: 
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Schwartz, Toby. “Larry Flynt’s Media Empire: Will the Porn King 
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Shultz, Gladys Denny. “Journal Mothers Report on Cruelty in 
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“The Skin-Book Boom: What Have They Done to the Girl Ne\* 
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Smith, Don D. “The Social Content of Pornography." Journal of 
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Smith, Marjorie M. ‘“Violent Pornography’ and the Women’s 
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Thurman, Judith. “What Is ‘The Real Thing’ for a Porn Star?” Ms., 
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Van Gelder, Lindsy. “Anita Bryant on the March: The Lessons of 
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Hunter College, 1980, pp. 14-15. 



constraints on rights of, 103 
Sade view of, 96-97 
Acton, William, 204 
Addams, Jane, 204 
Adelaide of Brunswick (Sade), 84 
Advertising, sex in, 20-21 
Aeschylus, 54 
Aesthetics, 15, 115-18, 131 
Against Our Will (Brownmiller), 

Aggressiveness, male, 16 
fulfillment in, 127 
and person as object, 1 2 1 
Ambivalence of Abortion , The 
(Francke), 96 

American Civil Liberties Union, 


Animals, analogy of behavior of, 
with that of men and 
women, 133-36 
Antiabortionists, 54« 

See also Abortion 
Anti-Semite and Jew (Sartre), 143 
Anti-Semitism, 1 56n 
See also Jews 

Apollinaire, Guillaume, Sade and, 
88, 89, 95 

“Art of Dominating Women, The” 
(photograph), 160-64 
Artaud, Antonin, 71, 178 
Auschwitz (death camp), 67 
Atomic Light: Lasers — What They Are 
and How They Work 

(Nehrich, Voran, Dessel), 

Authors of pornography books, 

Autism, 25, 105 

“Barbered Pole” (photograph), 
129-32, 135-38 
Barthes, Roland 
on fetish, 123 
on object and desire, 1 1 1 
and Sade, 70-71, 85, 94, 95 
Bataille, Georges 
on beauty, 117 
on prostitution, 151 
on Sade, 81 

Story of the Eye by, 167-68 
Battery, 159 

incidence of, in U.S., 103 
See also Force 
Baudelaire, Charles 
and difference between men and 
women, 120 
Sade and, 70 

and women as objects, 1 19 
Beauty, 15, 115-18, 131 
Beauvoir, Simone de 
and Sade, 25, 70, 81, 89, 99 
Varda and, 65 

and women as “the Other,” 50 
“Beaver Hunters” (photograph), 
25-30, 34 

Becker, Ernest, 108 
and appropriate responses, 104-5 
on creation of object world, 101 


288 INDEX 

Becker, Ernest (cont.) 
and dependable response pat- 
tern, 113 

on fetishism, 123-25 
on infant dependency and anx- 
iety, 106 

on making of a real girl, 120 
Bergman, Anni, 105 
Bettelheim, Bruno 
on revenge fantasies, 106-7 
on sadism in females, 135 
on separation of objects and 
living things in children, 49 
Beyond God the Father (Daly), 17 
Black Fashion Model (book), 210-17 
Blacks, 114, 210 
black males and black women, 

women linked to sexualized Jew- 
ess, 144 
See also Racism 

choice given to, 49 
escaping into manhood, 50-51 
excluding women, 48 
experience by, of male force, 
49-50 (see also Children) 
extent of abuse of, 60 
and male perceptions of women, 

male sexual aggression against, 
poor, 59 
See also Incest 
Brain, James, 111-12 
Brecht, Bertold, 85 
Briffault, Robert, 133-35 
Br0gger, Suzanne, 138, 178 
Brook, Peter, 167 
Brown, Norman O., 52, 117, 127 
Brown, Ronald, 140 
Brownmiller, Susan, and experi- 

ence of black women, 

Buirman, Franz, 88 
Burroughs, William, 71 
Butler, Samuel, 63 
Byron, Lord, 70 


as penile presence in photo- 
graphs of women, 45-47 
as second penis, 42 
See also Photographs; Pomogra- 

Camus, Albert, Sade and, 70, 88, 

Carter, Angela, Sade and, 84-85 
Carter, Billy, 26, 28 
Casanova, Giacomo, 62, 64 
Castration, 124, 132, 136, 137 
lesbians as, 46 
women as, 30-36 
Cesarean section, 217-18, 223 
Chabot, Leon, 139, 141 
Chattel status, 101-2, 106 
Chekhov, Anton, 101 
Chesler, Phyllis, 20 

and Cesarean, 217-18, 223 
Luther on, 54 

threat of death in, 54-55 (see also 

abuse of, 58-59 
first objects for, 105-6 
Kinsey and, 187 
Sade and, 71, 97 
and sex offenders, 190-93 
view of things, 49 
See also Boys; Girls; Incest; Mo- 

Chinese, foot <eti$h among, 126 

INDEX 289 

Christ, 53 

Civilization, as tamer of women, 

Cocteau, Jean, 70 
Cohabitation, right of marital rape 
extended to, 103 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 136 
Colette, 129 

Collective ownership of women, 

Concentration camps (and death 
camps), 67, 94, 142, 
144-47, 175 

in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 30 

of other males as goal, 157 
and sexual power, 23-24 
as theme in rape and romance, 

violence and, 148 (see also 

See also Owning 
Consent, 59 
Convents, 118 
Corday, Charlotte, 79 
Corea, Gena, 217, 218 

as residing in woman, 30 
See also Force; Masochism; Sa- 
dism; Violence 

Culture, male sexual power as 
substance of, 23-24 
Culture of Narcissism , The (Lasch), 

Dachau (death camp), 69 
Daly, Mary, 17 

beauty and female, 117-18 
boys and blood of, 51 
<ts essence of sex, 174-77 

male, conception, and female, 

penis/sperm as agent of female, 

Poe on, of a woman, 1 17 
in power of sex, 30 
pregnancy and possible, 223 
sex as forced passage to, 99 
Death camps (concentration 

camps), 67, 69, 94, 142, 
144-47, 175 
Death ray, 139-40 
See also Lasers 

Death and Sensuality (Bataille), 81 
as means to power, 25 
See also Power 
Descartes, Ren6, 14 
Dessel, Norman F., 140, 141 
Dialectic of Sex (Firestone), 49 
Dinnerstein, Dorothy, 65-66 
Divine Demon , The (Gear), 82 
Dominicans, 163 
Dostoevski, Fedor, 70 
Dracula, Count, 17 

Economic class, physical strength 
of women and, 15 
Ellis, Havelock, 64, 121 
on employed women, 63 
on female in courtship, 148 
on female sadism, 133 
on love, 120 
on penis as whip, 55 
on “real girl,” 120 
on relation to pain, 149 
and wife beating, 159 
on women as instruments in 
love, 107 

Emmanuelle (film), 128 
English suffragists, 102 
Equality (Tawney), 152 

290 INDEX 


fetish and penile (see also Fetish; 

and women as synonymous with 
sex, 22, 24 
Erikson, Erik, 55 
Erotic Minorities , The (Ullerstam), 


children and female, 58 ( see also 

freedom and, 145 (see also 

on prohibiting recognition of les- 
bian, 45-47 (see also 

See also Masochism; Sadism; Sex- 

“Eroticism and Violence in the 
Father-Son Relationship** 
(Stoltenberg), 49 
Eumenides (Aeschylus), 54 
Euripides, 199 

Facts of Life , Tbe (Laing), 54 
Fairy story, 106-7 
Famham, Marynia F., 107-8 
Fashion, 126 

male mastery of, 51 
See also Terror 
Feminism, 165 
Brain on, 111-12 
Ludovici on, 109-10 
Mencken on, 111 
and Sade, 99 
in Whip Cbick y 30-36 
and women as shadows, 80 
women of pornography as liber- 
ated women, 208, 209 
Fetish, 122-28 
Barthes on, 123 

Becker on, 123-24 
defined, 122 
of everything, 124-25 
foot, 125, 126 

and objectification, as on con- 
tinuum, 123-24, 127 
shoe, 125-26 
of P. Tillich, 126-27 
Tripp on, 122 
Fetus, 54, 55 
Firestone, Shulamith, 49 
Flaubert. Gustave 
on prostitution, 1 19 
and Sade, 70 
Flynt, Larry, 63, 64, 208 
Foot fetish, 125, 126 
Force, 129-98 
and analogies with animals, 

in “The Art of Dominating 
Women,” 160-64 
“beautiful Jewess” and, 143-45 
and concentration camps, 67, 69, 
94, 142, 144-47, 175 
deplored use of, 205 
and Kinsey studies, 180-98 
and lesbian relationship, 129-33 
(see also Lesbians) 
and liberal view, 151-52 
and low sex drive in women, 
179-87, 193, 198 
masochism and, see Masochism 
racism and, 153-59 (see also 

and rape, see Rape 
and sadism, 134-37 (see also 

and virility, 149 (see also 
Masculinity; Virility) 

See also Lasers; Violence 
Foucault, Michel, 167 
Francke, Linda Bird, 96 

INDEX .291 


Brown’s definition of, 52 
and cynical use of women by the 
Left and Right, 207 
eroticism and, 145 (see also 

and girls becoming men, 5 1 
Guyon and, 205 
Kinsey view of, 183 
and male desire, 83 
pornography as, 208, 209 ( see also 
from pornography, 224 
Sade’s, 88-92, 98-99 
sexual, defined, 52, 85-86 
Freud, Sigmund 
on fetish, 124 
Kinsey and, 184, 185 
on “servant girls,” 181 
on son’s incestuous desires, 204 
on Weininger, 1 10 n. 

defined, 23 
See also Penis; Vagina 

Gardner, John, 80, 209 
Gautier, Theophile, 109 
Gay Community News (newspaper), 

Gear, Norman, 82, 86 
Genet, Jean, 17 
as Nazis, 142-47 
pornography and, 1 39, 142 
witch burning, 143 
Gide, Andr6, 85 
Gilman, Richard, 100 
Ginsberg, Allen, 58 

becoming men (if they could), 5 1 
Freud on “servant girls,” 181 
Sadean view of mothers and 

daughters, 98 
See also Children; Incest 
Gobel, Barbara, 88 
Goncourt, Edmond de, 118 
Goncourt, Jules de, 118 
“Good woman/bad woman” catch- 
words, 147-48 
Goodman, Emily Jane, 20 
Gorer, Geoffrey 
and Sade, 84, 86 
on Sade and children, 97 
Greeks, 61, 62 
Greene, Caroline, 99 
Greene, Gerald, 99 
Guyon, Rene, 204-5 

Hannon, Gerald, 101 
Hardy, Thomas, 114 
Haskell, Molly, 165-66 
Hayman, Ronald, and Sade, 84-86 
Heavens, O. S., 140, 141 
Hefner, Hugh, 208-9 
Heine, Maurice, 90 
Hemingway, Ernest, 114 
Hesiod, 117 
Hiroshima, 61 

Hispanics, 155, 162-64, 209 
Hitler, Adolf, 17, 142, 146-47 
Homer, 17 

Homosexual Matrix , The (Tripp), 

in ancient Greece, 61, 62 
as failure to learn, 105 
in / Love a Laddie , 36-45 
objectification in, 122 
psychology and, 104 
sexual abuse and, 57, 58, 60 
and symbolic female, 128 
in Whip Chick , 30-34 
and Wolfenden Report, 206 
See also Lesbians 

292 INDEX 

Hughes, Pennethome, 143 
Hustler (magazine), 26, 63 

/ Love a Laddie (book), 36-45 
Ideology of male physical strength, 

Image , Tbe f 157 

father-daughter, 57 
father-son, 58, 59 
loss of son’s desire for, 204 
Indifference to women, 49 
Individuality, objectification and, 

Infantile rage, 65 

Institute for Sex Research (Kinsey 
Institute), 52, 85 

Jackson case (1891; British), 102-3 
Janeway, Elizabeth, 137-38 

as fecal people, 1 14 
Hitler’s view of, 146-47 
Jewish men’s relationship to 
Jewish women, 145 
laser burning female, 142 
pornography and, 139, 141-43 
and resonating power of sexual 
memory, 146 

sexualization of female, 143-44 
women equated with all, 1 10 
Jonestown, 67 
Jong, Erica, 89 
Juliette (Sade), 79, 96 
Jung, Carl, 204 
Justine (Sade), 78, 79 

Kafka, Franz, 17 
Karlen, Amo, 181 
Keats, John, 115 
Keller, Rose, Sade and, 73-74, 

Kinsey, Alfred 
in fashion, 121 
on fetishism, 125 
and low sex drive of women, 

studies and views of, 180-98 
Tripp and, 122 

Kinsey Institute (Institute for Sex 
Research), 52, 85 
Klein, Jeffrey, 63 
Krafft-Ebing, Richard F. von 
and norm of sexual behavior, 

on objectification, 121 

Labor force, 20 

Laing, R. D., 54, 62, 64 


male dominated, 17-18 
See also Naming 
Lasch, Christopher, 99, 105 
Laser Safety Handbook (Mallow and 
Chabot), 139 
Lasers (Heavens), 140 
Lasers (Tight amplification by 
itimulated emission of 
radiation), 138-42, 153 
characteristics of, 139-41 
dangers of, 140-42 
Lasers: Tools of Modem Technology 
(Brown), 140 

Latour (valet to de Sade), 74, 75 
Lauris, Laure de, 72 
Lautrlamont, 70 
Lawrence, D. H., 64 
on cocksure women, 62-63 
and Etruscan female, 155 
on harlotry in women, 207 
Lawrence, T. E., 60-61 
Leclerc, Madeleine, 79-80 
Legend of terror, 16 
L&y, Gilbert, 90 

INDEX 293 

Lerner, Max, 208-9 

in / Love a Laddie , 37-44 
prohibiting recognition of eroti- 
cism of, 45-47 

relationship of, in male frame- 
work, 129-33 
and Sade, 93 
See also Homosexuality 
Liberated women 
in Whip Chick , 30-36 
as women of pornography, 208, 

Lorenz, Konrad, 135 
Love, as violence, 52 
Love's Body (Brown), 51-52, 127 
Ludovici, Anthony M., 109-10 
Lundberg, Ferdinand, 107-8 
Luther, Martin, on childbearing, 


Machismo, 158, 162, 164 
Mademoiselle de Maupin (Gautier), 

“Madonna/whore” catchwords, 

Mahler, Margaret S., 105 
Mailer, Norman 

on men as agents of death, 54-55 
on Henry Miller and women, 

48, 112 

Male perceptions of women, 62-67 
Male self, see Self 
Malevolence of women, 96 
Mallow, Alex, 139, 141 
Manson, Charles, 17 
Marat, Jean-Paul, 78-79 
MaratlSade (Weiss), 98 
Marcuse, Herbert 
on beauty in female, 117 
on women, 127, 223 

as developed from rape, 19-20 
(see also Rape) 

owning and impregnating of 
women in, 21-22 
rape as right in, 102, 103 
in Whip Chick , 33 

as commitment to suicide and 
genocide, 68 

and education of boys, 1 19 (see 
also Boys) 
first rule of, 50 

force as confirming, 55 (see also 

money as expressing, 20-22, 24 
mother subverting, 106 
Nazis setting new standard for, 

punishment for failure of, 34 
race and, 157, 158 (see also 

and symbolic female, 128 
violence as criterion of, 5 3 (see 
also Violence) 

Masochism, 149-51, 165 
Medusa, 117 

Mencken, H. L., Ill, 204 
Mermaid and the Minotaur , The 
(Dinnerstein), 65 
Metaphysical victim, 146-48, 153 
Mexicans, 155, 160 
Miller, Henry, 48, 112 
Millett, Kate 
on cichlid effect, 134-35 
on historical function of women, 

on women as cunt, 199 

and sex offenders, 190-93 
See also Children 
Miranda, Carmen, 155 
Modesty, 148 

294 INDEX 

Molestation, 56-58 
and homosexuals, 60 
See also Children 

Mom (“Big Bellied Mamas”; maga- 
zine), 218 

Money, 20-22, 24, 59 
Montreuil, Anne-Prospfcre de, 75, 
87, 87 

Montreuil, Madame de, 84 
Sade and, 74-77 
Sadean sycophants and, 86-87 
Sade’s view of, repeated, 90 
Montreuil, Ren6e-P&agie de 
and biographers of Sade, 86-88 
biography of, 72-78, 82 
Sade to, in defense of himself, 


Sade to, on himself, 90 
Moravia, Alberto, 206 
Morgan, Robert 
crime of a woman compared 
with that of Sade, 90n 
on madness and women, 101 
on women put to death, 88 

and boys escaping into man- 
hood, 49-5 1 
draining of, 14 

fetish as substitute for penis of, 

losing incestuous desire for, 

as object, 105-8 
Sadean view of, 97-98 
Mothers and daughters 
mutilation and, 132 
photographic parody of, 129-31 
Mothers: The Matriarchal Theory of 
Social Origins , The (Briffault), 

“Must We Burn Sade?” (de Beau- 
voir), 81 


in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 27-28 

as male power, 17-18 (see also 

and pornography, 166-67 
Nanon (procuress), 76-77, 91 
Napolean I, 79, 83 
Navy (U.S.), 140, 142 
Nazis, 142-47 

Nehrich, Richard B., Jr., 140, 141 
New York Times , The , 139, 208 
Nicriven, 88 
Nietzsche, Friedrich, 71 
“Night Words” (Steiner), 145 
Nihilism, 67 
Nin, Ana'is, 34 
Noonan, John T., Jr., 96 
North, Maurice, 123 

Objectification, 113-23, 127 
Objects, 101-28 
alienation and person as, 

beauty and, 115-18 
fetish, see Fetish 
as living dummies, 108-9 
mother as, 105-8 
normal and natural cruelty im- 
plied in using women as, 

and objectification, 113-23, 127 
obsession with, as response to 
quality of, 113 
as passive, 107-8 
prostitutes as, 1 19-20 (see also 

psychology and, 103-5 
sensate beings as, 103-4 
value of, 118-19 
women as, 49 

and women as instruments, 

“Ode on a Grecian Urn” (Keats), 

Of Love and Lust (Reik), 149 
One Sings , the Other Doesn't (Varda), 

120 Days of Sodom , The (Sade), 93 
Outer Fringe of Sex, The (North), 



in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 28-29 

as male power, 19-20 (see also 

Pacifist males, 52 
Pallas, 134 

Pankhurst, Sylvia, 102-3 
Parasitism of male self, 13-14 
Patriarchy, 59 
See also Power 
Patton, Gen. George, 53 
Paulhan, Jean, 82-83 
Peller, Frau, 88 

and “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 29-30 
essential purpose of, 55 
fetish and erection of, 123 (see 
also Fetish) 

as hidden symbol of terror, 15 
linguistic antecedents of word, 

in I Love a Laddie , 42-43 
poetry and, 117 
reductionism involving, 53-55 
scissors and comb as, 132 
sex as intromission of, 23 
as sexual power, 23, 24 (see also 

as symbol of real manhood, 

INDEX 295 

34-35 (see also Masculinity) 
as weapon, 25, 56 
whip as symbol for, 55 

as agent of female death, 54-56 
See also Death; Sperm 
Perseus, 117 

“The Art of Dominating 
Women,” 160-64 
“Beaver Hunters,” 25-27 
elucidating power, 25-30 
laser, 138-53 

of lesbian relationship in male 
framework, 45-47, 129-33 
Mexican jail scene, 153-60 
of pregnant women, 218-23 
See also Pornography 
Physical strength 
in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 26-27 

power in, 14-15 (see also Power) 
and terror, 15-16 (see also Terror) 
Piaget, Jean, 49 
Pine, Fred, 105 

antiabortionists and, 54 n 
Laing on, 54 

Playboy (magazine), 45, 89, 108, 

139, 142, 143 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 117 
Poetry, 117 

Poles, humor at expense of, 130, 

Pomeroy, Wardell B., 180#-81/i 
defined, 199-202 (see also 

enduring sexual myth of, 166-67 
as guiltless rape, 137-38 (see also 

as industry, 208 

296 INDEX 

Pornography (< cont .) 

Jews and, 139, 141-43 (set also 

lasers in, see Lasers 
major theme of, 24-25 ( see also 

male sense of purpose realized 
in, 128 

meanest theme of, 1 36 
and pain as normal female de- 
mand, 165 

of pregnancy, 218-23 
prototypical female figures in, 95 
question central to, as genre, 92 
sexually liberated women as 
women of, 208, 209 
Story of tbe Eye as, 167-78 
unchanging faith expressed in, 

willing suspension of disbelief 
in, 136-37 

and women as sexual 

provocateurs, 178, 179 
See also Photographs; Sade, Mar- 
quis de 

Porsche, Ferdinand, 142/i 
Porsche, Ferry, 142» 

Poverty, 59 

desire transmuted to, 115 
equation of, in Sade, 100 (see also 
Sade, Marquis de) 
fantasy of female, 30 
in I Love a Laddie , 36-45 
as major theme of pornography, 
24-25 (see also Pornography) 
money as, 20-22 
naming as, 17-18 (see also 

owning as, 19-20 (see alsi 

photograph elucidating, zj-30 

physical strength as, 14-15 (see 
also Physical strength) 
self as, 13-14 (see also Self) 
sex as, 22-24 

terror as, 15-17 (see also Terror) 
women’s movement and, 1 34 
See also Force 
Pregnancy, 218-23 
See also Childbearing 
Prisoner of Sex , Tbe (Mailer), 54 
Prisons, sexual abuse in, 57, 
59-60, 69 

Producing, male, 2 1 
Prometheus, 17 
Property ownership, 102 
See also Owning 

Prostitutes (and prostitution), see 

Psychology, 103-9, 113, 121, 122, 

Puerto Ricans, 155, 162-63, 164, 


antagonism and, 157-60 
anti-Semitism as, 156n (see also 

in “The Art of Dominating 
Women,” 160-64 
in Black Fashion Model , 210-17 
and fecal people, 1 14 
force and, 178 
laser burning and, 142 
in Mexican jail scene, 153-60 
in photographing women, 

rape and, 59-60 (see also Rape) 
sexual ideology in, 147 
skin color and, 149 
Ratner, Herbert, 217-18 

in “The Art of Dominating 

INDEX .297 

Women,” 160-64 
Brain on, 112 
celebration of, 23 
and choice of prostitution, 151 
(see also Whores) 

as defined by male power, 18-20 
effects of, as defining paradigm 
of sexuality, 62 
essence of, 138 

as history’s sustained theme, 99 
incidence of, in U.S., 103 
Janeway on, and pornography, 

Kinsey and, 184, 186-89 
Lawrence on, 60-61 
in male prisons, 59-60 
as not an abuse in male system, 

pornography as guiltless, 137-38 
(see also Pornography) 
of a priest, 173-75 
and reputation of Jewish and 
black women, 143-44 
right of marital, 102, 103 (see also 

Sade and, 71, 92, 94, 98 (see also 
Sade, Marquis de) 
and sense of total violation, 

of sons or close male relatives, 


and women as sexual 
provocateurs, 178-79 
See also Photographs 
Ready, John F., 141-42 

Sade and absolute, 70, 88-89 
silent, of women, 56 
See also Freedom 
Reik, Theodor, 149, 150 
Religion discouraging expenditure 
of sperm, 21 

Renelle, Marie-Constance, 78, 79 
Resnais, Alain, 71 
Revenge fantasies, 106-7 
Revolution in Psychiatry , The 
(Becker), 108 
Rich, Adrienne, 128 
Rimbaud, Arthur, 27 
Robespierre, Maximilien, 79 
Room of One's Own , A (Woolf), 14 
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 178 
Rubens, Peter Paul, 115 
Rung, Maria Walburga, 88 
Ryland, Hobart, 84 

Sacher-Masoch, Leopold von, 

Sade, Abb6 de, 71, 76, 77 
Sade, Marquis de (Donatien-Al- 
phonse-Fran$ois de Sade) 
as autistic, 25 

basis of his own defense, 90-91 
biographers of, 81-88 
biography of, 71-80 
denying claims of others, 81 
as embodying common values 
and desires of men, 99-100 
ethic of, 92-93 
fascination with, 88-90 
imprisoned for violating shad- 
ows, 82-83 
and “Juliette,” 94, 95 
and “Justine,” 94, 95 
Keller and, 73-74, 82-85 
and libertinage, 91-92 
libertines in literary work of, 

literary men and, 70-7 1 
literary work of, 77-79, 167 
Mme. de Montreuil and, see 
Montreuil, Madame de 
Nazis and, 144 
near invisibility of crime and 

298 INDEX 

Sade, Marquis dc (cont.) 
victims of, 81 
parents of, 71, 87 
punishment inflicted by, 82, 

as rebel, 70, 88-89 
and rights of women, 81-82 
Testard and, 72-73 

female, 132-37 
masochism in males as, 150 
of men and masochism of 
women, 109 

See also Force; Pornography; 
Sade, Marquis de 
Sainte-Beuve, Charles-Augustin, 

Sand, George, 116 
Sarotte, Georges-Michel, 63, 64 
Sartre, Jean-Paul 
on “beautiful Jewess,” 143 
on effects of objectification, 1 14 
and Story of the Eye , 167 
Schizophrenia, 104, 105 
Seaver, Richard, Sade and, 71, 
81-82, 91-92 


in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 26 (see also 

combined with physical strength 
in male, 15 (see also Physical 

fetish and experience of male, 
124, 128 (see also Fetish) 
as male defined, 1 3-14 (see also 

terror and male, 15-16 
violence as prime component of 
male, 51-53 (see also 

Self-mutilation, 135 

Semmelweis, 55 
Sentimental Education (Flaubert), 


Seven Pillars of Wisdom (Lawrence), 

Sex and Character (Weininger), 1 10 
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female 
(Kinsey), 181 

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male 
(Kinsey), 181, 182 
Sexual Excitement (Stoller), 150 
Sex offenders, 52-53, 85, 181, 

Sex Offenders : An Analysis of Types 
(Kinsey disciples), 181, 

Sexual Politics (Millett), 1 34 
Sexual property 
women as, 102-3 
See also Pornography ; Whores 

effects of rape as defining para- 
digm of, 62 (see also Rape) 
and making money, 20-21 (see 
also Power) 
and photographs, see 

Sade’s conception of, 100 (see also 
Sade, Marquis de) 
and sanctioned violence, 56-57 
(see also Violence) 
what has defined mass, 144-45 
See also Eroticism; and specific 
aspects and effects of; for exam- 
ple: Force; Freedom; Homo- 
sexuality; Masculinity; Ob- 

Shakespeare, William, 70 
Shaw, Charlotte, 60 
Shoe fetish, 125-26 
S-M: The Last Taboo (Greene and 
Greene), 99 

INDEX 299 

Snuff artist, Sade as, 92 
Snuff films, 71 
Social Darwinism, 16 
Sociobiology, 16 
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis 
(Wilson), 135 
Sontag, Susan, 167 
Spending, male, 21-22 

hoarding of, 21 
and objectification, 113 
penis and, as agent of female 
death, 54-56 ( see also Death; 

pregnancy and, 222, 223 
reductionism involving, 54, 55 
Spinoza, Baruch, 120 
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 129 
Steinem, Gloria, 199 
Steiner, George, 93, 145 
Stoller, Robert 
on excitement, 1 59 
on female suffering, 150-51 
on need for fecal people, 114 
on sadism, 1 35-36 
Stoltenberg, John, 49-50 
Storr, Anthony 
on fetishes and women, 124 
on sadism of men and maso- 
chism of women, 109 
Story of the Eye (Bataille), 167-78 
Story of 0, 33, 167 
Studies in the Psychology of Sex (Ellis), 

Suffragists, 102, 111 
Swinburne, Algernon, 70 

Tawney, R. H., 152 

in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 27-28 

power as capacity to induce, 

15-17 (see also Power) 
Testard, Jeanne, 72-73 
Thomas, Donald, Sade and, 81, 

84, 86 

Tillich, Hannah, 108-9 
on Paul Tillich, 126-27 
Tillich, Paul, 70 
Hannah Tillich on, 126-27 
Torture, 69 
Tripp, C. A. 

on objectification as culmination 
in evolution, 121-22 
on pleasure of devaluing women, 

on women and will, 151-52 
Ullerstam, Lars, 125-26 

laser burned , see Lasers 
literal meaning of, 56 
power and, 25 ( see also Power) 
Sadean loathing for, 96 
women as, 110, 112 (see also 

Vagina/womb, male perception of, 

Varda, Agnes, 65 
Vietnam war, 67 

as central to experience, 51-53 
(see also Self) 

sex offenders and, 52-53, 85, 

181, 188-94 

sexual, 56-57 (see also Sexuality) 
snuff films as, 71 
See also Force; Power 

in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 29-30 
defined, 23 

force as foundation of, 148 (see 
also Force) 

300 INDEX 

Virility ( cont .) 
in / Love a Laddie , 42, 43 
See also Masculinity 
Voran, Glenn I., 140, 141 

Wainhouse, Austryn, Sade and, 
81-82, 91-92 
War, 51 

War of the Worlds , The (Wells), 140 

in “Beaver Hunters” photo- 
graph, 29 

female physical incapacity as 
form of male, 15 
money and, 20-22, 24 
Weininger, Otto, 1 10, 207 
Weiss, Peter, 98-99 
Well-Beloved , The (Hardy), 114 
Wells, H. G., 140 
Welsh, Mary, 114 
West Virginia, 103 
Whip Chick (book), 30-36 
White slave trade, 204-205 

as consequences of feminine atti- 
tude, 151 

and definition of pornography, 
199-200 (see also 

and idea of low sex drive in 
women, 179 
Kinsey and, 185-86 
male, 57 

as objects, 114, 119-20 
pleasure of, 206-7 
Right and Left allegiance to, 

207, 208 

Sade and, 71-73, 75, 82-86, 98 
and white slavery, 204, 205 
in Wolfenden Report, 205—6 
Wife beating, see Battery 
Wilson, Edmund, Sade and, 86, 

87, 89 

Wilson, Edward O., 135 
Winick, Charles, 125 
Witchcraft (Hughes), 143 
Witches, extermination of, 18, 133, 

Wolfenden Report, 205-6 
Wollstonescraft, Mary 
cause of death, 55 
on hunting women out of so- 
ciety, 152-53 

Women , Money and Power (Chester 
and Goodman), 20 
Women’s Movement, 81, 134, 161, 

Woolf, Virginia 
on masculine point of view, 48 
on men using women to enlarge 
themselves, 14, 23-24 
and wise men, 63 

“You Have to Be Liberated to 
Laugh” (Jong), 89 
Young, Allen, 44-45 
Young, lan, 101 

“This connection, or link, is violence. Violent ‘love/ 
Violent 'pleasure/ Violent ‘erotic’ death. In short, in its 
literary form, men’s violent ‘depiction of Whores,’ Le,, 
pornography, Dworkin writes with power, anger, daring — 
and from a great care and love of womankind/’ 

— Alice Wa/ker 

“It is, in my opinion, the most important modern book on 

— Thomas Szasz 

“Andrea Dworkin ’s Pornography is a resolutely, beauti- 
fully sustained argument. It has been a long while since a 
book has engaged a topic of public inquiry with such 
energy, force, acumen. The assault of pornography 
against women, its function as a form of cultural prop- 
aganda, is carefully proven here, At every turn the 
author’s insights push the boundary of inquiry further and 
further into the bizarre world she has entered until it 
emerges with a terrible familiarity, , ♦ * No one has done 
justice to this subject before. There is wit, imagination, 
and a brilliant capacity to reason in this book,” 

— Kate MiJ/ett 

“Unlike others, who are afraid to take a look at the 
hardcore stuff and use First Amendment arguments as a 
cover for their fear, Andrea Dworkin has gone on a 
perilous journey and emerged with her rage intact,” 
—Susan Brownmif/er 

Cover design © Terrence Fehr 


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